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Commodore Byron Mc Candle ss 


J - 



' The morning wjiteh was eoiiic ; tlie vessel lay 
Her course, and gently made her liquid way ; 
Tlie cloven liillow flashed from off her prow 
In furrows formed, by that majestic plough. 

' Huzza for Otaheite ! ' was the cry. 

The gentle island and the genial soil, 

The friendly heai-ts, the feasts without a toil, 

The courteous manners, but from nature caught, 

Tlie weaUh unlioarded, and the love unbought. 

The soil where every cottage showed a home. 
The sea-spread net, the lightly launched canoe, 
Which stemmed the studded archipelago 
O'er whose blue bosom rose the stiirry isles. 
And sweetly now, those untaught melodies 
Brol<e tlie luxurious silence of the skies, 
The sweet siesta of a summer day. 
The tropic afternoon of Toobonai, 
When every flower was bloom, and air was Vialm, 
Ami the first breath began to stir the palm." 

—The Island : Lord Byron. 











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When, in the spring of 1875, Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon 
was appointed first Governor of Fiji, I had the good fortune 
to be invited to form one of the party who accompanied 
Lady Gordon to that far country. 

Two years shpped away, brimful of interest, and each 
month made me feel more ' At Home in Fiji,' more fascinated 
with its lovely scenery, more content to linger among its 

Then a counter-charm was brought to bear upon the spell 
which held me thus entranced. The chief magician appeared 
in the guise of a high ecclesiastic of the Eoman Church, 
clothed in purple, and wearing the mystic ring and cross of 
amethyst ; while his coadjutor, a French gentleman of the 
noble old school, was the commander of a large French man- 
of-war, which had been placed at the service of the Bishop 
of Samoa, to enable him to visit all the most remote portions 
of his diocese. Already this warlike mission-ship had peace- 
fully touched at many points of exceeding beauty and 
interest, and our visitors had no sooner recognised my keen 



appreciation of scenery, and inveterate love of sketching, 
than they formally and most cordially invited me to com- 
plete U tour de la mission, and so fill fresh portfolios with 
reminders of the beantiful scenes which the vessel was about 
to visit. 

Being duly iuil)ued with a British conviction that such an 
invitation could not possibly be a hond fide one, I at first 
treated it merely as a polite form ; but when it was again 
and again renewed, in such terms as to leave no possible 
d()ul)t of its sincerity, and when, moreover, we learnt that 
the most comfortable cabin in the ship had actually been 
prepared for the invited guest, and that its owner was 
thoroughly in earnest in his share of the invitation, then 
indeed we agreed that the chance was too unique to be lost ; 
and so it came to pass that on the 5th September 1877 I 
started on the cruise in a French man-of-war, which proved 
one of the most delightful episodes in many years of travel. 



While these pages were passing througli tlie press, I have received 
details from various sources, which prove that the policy referred 
to at p. 241 is being actively carried out. 

Not content with holding the Marquesas, the Paumotus, Tahiti, 
and the Gambler Isles, France seems resolved to annex every de- 
sirable island lying to the east of Samoa, thus securing possession 
of every good harbour and coaling-station lying between New 
Zealand and the coast of South America ; aiid also, diverting all 
the trade of these isles, from Britain's Australian colonies, to a 
French centre, which shall command the great commercial high- 
way of the future, when the Panama Canal shall be completed. 
Raiatea in the Society Isles has recently been formally annexed, 
and the independence of Huahine and Bora-Bora threatened. 

Now a further step is contemplated. The Austral and Hervey 
groups still remain free. They are self-governed, and Christianity 
is firmly established among their people. 

According to the latest information, a French man-of-war visited 
their principal isles last August, to command the inhabitants to 
divert their present trade from New Zealand to Tahiti, assuring 
them that Great Britain had undertaken not to interfere with 


French action anywhere to the east of Samoa. The islanders, who 
had at first received the French vessel with all honour, no sooner 
got an inkling of the true object of its visit than they became 
alarmed, and returnccl all presents which had been made to them 
by the captain ; who thereupon assured them that the French 
admiral was on his way thitlier, and would soon bring them to 
their bearings, and that they would have to accept a French 

Eemembering the history of French protection in Tahiti, the 
Australs and Hervey Islanders are now justly alarmed for their 
own independence. 




Letter to England announcing start from Fiji — Vague plans, . . 1 


Life in a French man-of-war — Convent-life in Tonga — Early martyrs — 
Wesleyan mission — Roman Catholic mission — Cyclopean tombs at 
Mua — Gigantic trilitlion — Fines and taxes — King George Tupou, . 3 


Sail from Tonga to Vavau — Volcano of Tofua — AVesleyan mission — Two 
thousand miles from a doctor — range- gi-ove.s — A lovely sea-lake — 
Coral caves, . . . . . . . .24 


Life on board .ship — The Wallis Isles — Fotuna — Sunday Isle — Cyclo- 
pean remains on Easter Isle — Stone adzes— Samoa — Pango-Pango 
harbour, ........ 33 


Boat transit to Leone — Spouting caves — : Council of war — Sketch of 

Samoan history — Night dances, , . . . .48 


A shore without a reef — Samoan plants — — Animals — Laying 
foundation-stone of a church — School festival — the Navigator's 
Isle.s, ........ 61 



Vanquished cliiefs of the Pviletoa faction under protection of the union - 
jack — Convent-school — " Bully " Hayes — Postal difficulties — 
House of Godeffroy — Village of Malinunu — Vegetables and fish — 
Advantages of Anglo-American companies, . . . .74 


The Ishmaelites of the Pacific — Injudicious intervention — Fa-Samoa 
picnic — A torchlight walk — Training-college at Malua — Apt illus- 
trations by native preachers — Dr Turner — Mission to the New- 
Hebrides — Escape to Samoa — Of many changes on many isles, . 89 


A sketcli of the Samoan mission — The Rev. Joliu Williams determines 
to visit the Navigator's Isles — Preliminary work in the Hervey 
group — Discovery of Rarotonga — Conversion of its people — They 
help Williams to build a ship which shall convey him to Samoa — 
Visit Tonga — Proceed to Samoa — Overthrow of idolatry — Reverence 
for old mats — Williams's grave at Apia, .... 118 


Leave Samoa — Reach Tahiti — Grey shadows — Death of Queen Pomare 
— La Loire and her passengers — A general dispersion — Life ashore 
at Papeete — Admiral Serre and the royal family — Families of 
Salmon and Prander — Adoption, . . . . .148 


Papeete — Catholic mission — Protestant mission — A christening party — 
La ]\laison Brandere — Tales of the past — Evenings in Tahiti^ La 
musique — Plans — Sunday, . . . . . .164 

Short sketch of a royal progi-ess round Tahiti, .... 177 


The royal progress round Taliiti — Life day by day — Himhies — A beau- 
tiful shore — Manufacture of arrowroot llowers — A deserted cotton 
plantation — Tahitian dancing — The Areois — Vanilla plantations — 
Fort of Taravao, ....... 182 



The royal progress round Tahiti {contiiiuecl) — Freucli fort at Taravoii — 
The peninsula — Life in bird-i^afje houses — Torehlicrht procession — 
Return to Papeete, ....... 198 


The semaphore — Innnutable tides — The coral-reef — Spearing fish — 
Netting — catching sharks — A royal mausoleum — Superstitions of 
East and West — Centipedes — Intoxicating drinks — Influenza — 
Death of Mrs Simpson, ...... 210 


Tlic royal progress round Moorea — The Seignelay starts for the Alar- 

([uesas and Paumotus — Indecision, ..... 226 

Vain regrets — Some account of the Jlarcniesas and the Pamnotu groups, 236 


Taliitian hospitality — A South Sea store — A bathing picnic — The Mar- 
(juesans — Tattooing — Ancient games of Tahiti — ]\Ialay descent — 
Theory of a northerly migration, . . . . .267 


Life in Papeete — The market — Cliurches — Country life in the South 

Seas, ........ 286 


Visit to the Protestant mission on Jloorea — A sketch of the cnrly history 

of the mission, .... ... 294 


A healing tree — Plantation life — Vanilla crops — Cat-and-dog life — A 
foiled assassin — Tlie tropics of to-day — England in days of yore — 
Among the crags — Infanticide — Heathen days, . . . 310 



Life ou Moorea — A\i ancient place of sacrifice — Arrival of H. M.S. Shah 

— Hospitalities on land and water, ..... 322 

The atoll group of Tetiaroa, ...... 335 


New Year's Day in Tahiti — Ascent of Fautawa valley — Of palin salads, 
screw-pines, and bread-fruit — Packing mango-stones — Return of 
Gilbert Islanders — Departure of the Seignelay, . . . 339 


Hurricane at the Paumotus — Mahena plantation — Watching for vessels 

—Farewell to Tahiti, ...... 353 


Papeete — Capital, 

Trilithon, Tonga, 

A Coral Cave, Vavau, . 

Opunuhu Bat, Moorea, . 

Le Diadbme, 

A EoYAL Eeception, Hapiti, 

Pao Pao, or Cook's Bay, 

Ancient Marai, . 










At the end 

X O T E. 

The " \Va Kalou," — i.e., "Fern of God," — ^introduced on the cover of this 
hook, is a most delicate climbing fern which overtwinos tall trees and slirubs 
in the Pacific Isles, forming a misty veil of indescribable loveliness. When in 
the state of fructification, each leaf is edged w-ith a dotted fringe of brown 
seed. In the Fijian Isles its beauty has gained for it the name here given ; 
and in olden days the ridge-poles of the temples were wreathed with it, as 
those of chiefs' houses are to this day. It also finds favour for personal adorn- 
ment, trailing garlands of this exquisite green being singularly becoming to a 
clear brown skin. 





Nasova, Fiji, 5th Sept. 1877. 

My dear Eisa, — I have only time for a line, to enclose a packet of 
seed of a lovely shrub which bears clusters of golden bells. Also 
to tell you that I am just starting for a cruise in a French man- 
of-war, the Seignelay, commanded by Captain Aube, who is taking 
Monseigneur EUoi, the Eoman Catholic Bishop of Samoa, a round 
of his diocese. Both are exceedingly pleasant, and have made 
themselves much liked here. The officers are a particularly gentle- 
manlike set. Judge of my amazement (accustomed to the rigid 
regulations of the English navy), when these, as one man, echoed 
an invitation given to me by the commander, to go for a cruise 
over half the South Seas, where they purpose touching at many 
isles, which I could by no possibility have any other chance of 
seeing. Several of these most kind friends had placed their cabins 
at the disposal of the captain, that he might offer me whichever 
he considered most suitable. For the first day or two after this 
invitation was made, we all treated it as a pleasant joke, never 



imagining that it could be quite in earnest ; but when at length 
Ave all became convinced that it really was so, we agreed that there 
really could be no reason for refusing so rare a chance of an expe- 
dition, which will be to me most delightful. 

So I am actually to embark this afternoon, Lady Gordon and 
dear little sailor Jack, and Captain IvnoUys, accompanying me on 
board, to see me fairly started. 

This evening we sail for the Friendly Isles (Tonga), and thence 
proceed to the Navigator's Isles (Samoa), where there have been 
serious disturbances, and where my friend Mrs Liardet, wife of the 
Uritish. Consul, has for some time bad about thirty chiefs living in 
sanctuary in her house. I have long promised to visit her, should 
an opportunity arise, so this is an admirable one. I shall probably 
take a return passage thence in a German ship, and rejoin Lady 
Gordon at Loma Loma, a point in this group, about one hundred 
miles from here. 

My French friends urge my going on to Tahiti, the loveliest isle 
in the South Seas ; but the utter uncertainty of how to get back 
thence, either here or to Tasmania, where Lady Gordon hopes to 
spend Christmas, makes me hesitate. If I could reach the Sand- 
wich Isles, I should then be on the direct line of the Pacific mail- 
steamers ; but Tahiti is utterly out of the Avorld, and till the 
Seignelay arrives there, she will not receive her further orders, and 
may perhaps be sent to Valparaiso, which has no attractions for 
me. So my line of march is at present somewhat undecided. I 
think I shall almost certainly return here from Samoa ; but as B. 
long ago said, of my wandering propensities, that I was just like a 
knotless thread,- 1 may perhaps slip through, and you may hear of 
my vanishing into space ! 

This place is looking lovely. It has improved wonderfully in 
these two years, and has become so very homelike and pleasant, 
that I quite grudge leaving it, with even the vague feeling of un- 
certainty which attaches to any long journey ; and though we all 
expect to retui-n here, after a winter in Tasmania, still, so many 
contingencies may arise, that one always feels a home in the colonies 
to be a very insecure tenure. 


Xow I must finish my packing, which requires a good deal of 
consideration in case it should turn out that my locomotive demon 
urges me onward, and that I do visit the Hawaiian Isles, and then 
Tasmania, ere returning here. 

I wish you could see my room here, noAV. It really is a museum 
— the walls covered with trophies of all the strange Fijian things 
I have collected during the last two years, I have just finished a 
series of about sixty studies of Pijian pottery, representing a hun- 
dred and fifty pieces, all different, and made without any Avheel, by 
the wives of the poor fishermen. Some of the forms are most 
artistic, and the colour is very rich. Is'o time for more. I will 
write next from Toniza. 



On Board Le Seionei-ay, off Tongatabu, 
FHday, 7th Sept. 1877. 

Dear Lady Gordox, — I may as well begin a letter at once, in 
case of a chance of posting it by some stray ship, but as yet there 
is none even on the horizon. 

Is it possible that it was only last Wednesday afternoon when 
you and Jack left me on board the Seignelay to try an entirely 
new experiment in ship-life — only three days since Ave ate our first 
meringues in tliat charming little dining-room, of which I now feel 
such a thoroughly old inhabitant ? I can scarcely believe it. 

Still more wonderful, is it scarcely a fortnight since I first met 
the amethystine bishop, and this extraordinarily kind captain, Avho 
both seem like real old friends, as do, indeed, all the jieople on 
board, from the officers and quartermasters, down to Antoine, the 
Italian raaUre dliutel, who takes me under his especial charge, antl 

4 A lady's cruise. 

is as careful as any old nurse 1 I know that if I were sick ho 
would insist on coming to the rescue, but as yet he has not had 
the smallest chance of shoAving me such attentions ; for though we 
had one really rough day, the ship is so very large and steady, that 
you scarcely perceive any motion. You did not half see her ; she 
really is a noble vessel, and all her machinery is so beautifully 
kept — such a display of polished brass and steel — brighter than on 
most English men-of-war. Of course I have been duly lionised 
over every corner of her, and I think the most novel sight of all, is 
serving out rations, and seeing wine pumped up from huge vats, to 
fill the small barrels, each of which represents eight men's daily 
allowance. What immense supplies must be laid in when such a 
ship starts on a long cruise ! They are sufficiently startling on 
board such vessels as the Messageries Maritimes, where every soul 
on board drinks vin ordinaire at every meal, and where there is 
daily consumption of about two hundred bottles, and the store laid 
in at Marseilles has to suffice for the voyage to Yokohama, and 
back to IMarseilles. 

The little cabin assigned to me is charming — so full of natty 
contrivances to make the most of space, and all so pretty. I 
believe that several of our kind friends on board have contributed 
to make it so. One lent a beautifully carved mirror, another a 
pin-cushion of pale-blue silk and lace. Fixed to the wall are 
fascinating flower-vases of black Chilian pottery, brought from 
Lima, and most delicate little Jcava bowls from the Wallis Isles, 
now utilised to hold soap, sponge, and matches. I find a whole 
chest of drawers empty, and various shelves, which I know can 
only have been cleared at great inconvenience. A small bookcase 
contains a very nice selection of French and English books — for 
my especial host, M. de Gironde, has travelled a good deal in Eng- 
land and in Scotland, and reads English well, as do several of the 
others. Having so generously given me his cabin, he has taken 
up his abode in the chart-room on the bridge, and declares he likes 
it far better; that it is much cooler, and that he never was so 
comfortable, &c. In short (in common with all the others), he 
tries to make me really feel as if I were conferring a huge obliga- 


tion on the whole party by having come. Never were there such 
hospitable people. I have had a good deal of spoiling in the course 
of my life, but I never had it in such perfection as now. Every 
creature on board is so cordial, that it would be quite impossible 
not to feel so in return. I think my French is improving ! I can 
now distinguish the Bretons from the Provencals, and both from 
the Parisians. 

The officers are a pleasant, well-informed set, who have travelled 
with their eyes open, and their relations with their fine old captain 
are those of cordial sons with a father. It would be difficult for 
any one accustomed to the rigid stiffness of the British navy to 
understand such a condition. Even the frank kindliness with 
which sub-officers and men are addressed, sounds to me as unusual 
as it is pleasant. Life on this ship seems that of a happy family, 
with the filial and paternal affections unusually well developed, and 
M. Aube is generally the centre of a cheery group, chatting unre- 
servedly on whatever topic may arise. 

At least two of the officers are daily invited to breakfast, and 
two others to dinner in the captain's little cabin, all coming in their 
turn. And six or eight generally come in to evening tea, a cere- 
mony Avhich, I suspect, has been instituted specially out of def- 
erence to my supposed English habits. Besides the bishop and 
myself, M. Pinart is also the captain's guest, and I find him pleas- 
ant and very ready to impart his information, which, as you know, 
is considerable, on all scientific matters. The others have little 
jokes at his expense, and declare that he is more of a Yankee than 
a Frenchman. I can only say the combination is good. 

The feeding is excellent, beginning with early chocolate. Break- 
fast is at 9 o'clock, and ends with coffee and liqueurs, especially 
most delicious Chartreuse, which some of us in an irreverent 
whisper call "La meilleure oeuvre des moines." Dinner, with 
similar ending, is at 5 o'clock, and tea at 8. Antoine has orders 
to give me luncheon at 1, with due respect to English habits ; but 
I find this quite superfluous ; so that ceremony falls through. By 
the by, tell A. that his champagne-cup produced quite a sensation. 
It was generally set down as being de Vliydromcl, and the greatest 


curiosity prevails concerning its ingredients, whicli I, iinfortunatel}'-, 
am not able to satisfy. 

We are now about 250 miles east of Fiji, and sighted land this 
afternoon ; Ave have just anchored off Tonga, wliich certainly com- 
pares unfavourably "with our beautiful Fijian isles. This is the 
dullest, flattest land I have yet seen — a low shore, fringed with 
long lines of cocoa-palm, which, seen from the sea, are singularly 
monotonous. The king's town, Nukualofa, consists of a long row 
of more or less ugly villas, stores, and barracks, built of wood and 
painted white : one is bright green. The houses are roofed with 
zinc or shingle, and the general effect is that of a new English 
watering - place. King George's palace is a rather handsome 
wooden building like a hotel, and is reserved for his guests. The 
Government offices occupy another wooden building, and just 
beyond them is the printing-office, in Avhich a few books, a maga- 
zine, and an almanac, are printed in the native tongue. A large 
Wesleyan church, painted white, and with a very small steeple, 
stands on a green hill on the site of an old fortification, and close 
to it is the house of Mr Baker, Wesleyan missionary. 

About a mile and a half along the shore is another village called 
Maofanga, where there is another AVesleyan church, but it is 
chiefly a Eoman Catholic settlement ; and near a neat thatched 
chapel of the true Tongan type, I see a long pleasant-looking 
bungalow, which I am told is a convent, the home of a society 
of French Sisters. To-morrow morning I hope to go ashore and 
see everything. 

Saturday Night, 

In my Cell, Convent of the Immacvlate 

Conception, Maofanga. 

You see my experiences are rapidly enlarging. I have to-day 
made my very first acquaintance with conventual life, and am 
greatly interested by it, and by the exceedingly lachdike kind 
women who, at a hint from the bishop, invited me to stay with 
them as long as the ship is in harbour, and have given me tliis 
clean, tidy wee room, which, though not luxurious, is some degrees 


more so than their own simple cells. I have a table, a chair, and 
a tiny bedstead. 

There are only four Sisters. The eldest, Sister Anna, is a very 
old lady, but most courteous and friendly. Soeur Marie des Anges 
is a cosy middle-aged woman, who has lately come from the con- 
vent at Samoa to take care of Soeur Marie des Cinq Plaies, a 
Bweet, pretty young woman, with a terrible cough, and evidently 
fast dying of consumption. The fourth sister, Soeur Marie-Jesu, 
is Irish. All are most gentle and kind, and seem deeply interested 
in their schools and the care of a large number of nice-looking 
women and children. I think myself most fortunate in having 
been invited to stay here, instead of finding quarters in the ugly, 
pretentious town of foreign houses, which, whatever advantages they 
may possess, are quite opposed to all our predilections in favour of 
native architecture. 

The surroundings here are calm and quiet. Through a frame of 
tall palms, Avith ever-waving fronds, we look to the blue harbour, 
where the friendly big ship lies mirrored — a ship which, to these 
good Sisters, is a link to that dear home-land, la helle France, 
which they do so love, but to which they have bidden a long fare- 
well, in devotion to their mission-work in these far isles. The 
schoolroom is under the same roof, and full of bright intelligent 
girls. At sunset there were vespers in the church close by, and, 
as the delicate sister was ordered to stay at home, and do her part 
by ringing the Angelus, we sat together and listened to the sing- 
ing, which was very good, — the Tongan rendering of Canticles and 
harmonised Litanies being excellent. The harmonium is played 
by Pere Lamaze, who is a good musician. Another father, a fine 
old Breton priest, is the architect of a handsome wooden church 
now in process of erection. (When the Seignelay touched at tho 
Wallis Isles on their way to Fiji, the bishop consecrated a really 
very fine new church there ; and as the Eoman Catholic Mission in 
those isles is very strong, there seem to have been wonderful re- 
joicings on the occasion. Among the offerings of the people were 
150 p igs, which are being gradually consumed by the creAV.) 

This morning, soon after breakfast, Cajitain Aubc landed me, 


in charge of M. Berrycr and M. Pinart, to explore the hideous 
town. The shore-reef is so wide that at low tide there is a broad 
expanse of slimy mud and sharp coral ; so it was with some diffi- 
culty that we efTected a landing, just below the king's house, 
whence floated the flag of Tonga, which is red, with a white cross 
on one corner. King George has a guard of two hundred men, 
some of whom are arrayed in scarlet, and a detachment of these 
were on duty, expecting a formal visit from the captain and the 
bishop, — which, however, did not come off" till the afternoon, when 
there was much saluting — twenty-one guns fired from the ship, 
and twenty-one returned. 

We naturally made for the highest point of this very flat town — 
namely, the Wesleyan church, which, though it only stands about 
fifty feet above the sea, commands a good bird's-eye view of its sur- 
roundings — thatched roofs just seen through luxuriant bread-fruit 
trees, cocoa-palms, and large-leaved bananas, with scarlet hybiscus 
and rosy oleanders to give an occasional touch of colour. 

Close to the church is the grave of the commander of an 
English man-of-war, who, forty years ago, allowed his valour to 
overcome his discretion, and himself led an armed force to assist 
the present King George in asserting his claim to the throne. 
In charging a stockade he and several of his men were killed, and 
an English gun was captured, which still lies at the village of Bea, 
about four miles from here. 

Another very sad memory clings to this place — namely, that of 
the barbarous massacre in the year 1799 of three of the very first 
missionaries who ever landed in the South Pacific. A party of 
ten men were sent to Tonga in 1796 by the London Mission, and 
for three years they contrived to hold their ground, till, on the 
breaking out of a civil war, three of their number were murdered, 
and the others were compelled to fly, and conceal themselves as 
best they could. On this occasion, as on almost every other when 
the lives of Christian teachers have been sacrificed, the action of 
the savages was distinctly due to the influence of wicked white 
men. The culprit at Tonga was an escaped English convict, who, 
having won the ear of the king, persuaded him that these men 


were wizards, and that an epidemic, which was then raging, was 
due to their malignant sorceries. So, at the bidding of this 
scoundrel, the poor savages murdered their true friends. 

That any should have escaped was due to the most providential 
and unlooked-for arrival of a ship captured in the Spanish war 
and brought to Tahiti — whence a member of that mission under- 
took to navigate her to New South Wales, on condition she 
might call at Tongatabu, to see how it fared with his brethren in 
the Friendly Isles. Thus happily were the survivors rescued, and 
the mission abandoned, till the Wesleyans ventured to reoccupy 
the dangerous ground, with what success we well know, seeing 
that to the aid given by their Tongan converts was due much of 
their wonderful progress in Fiji. On the green hill of Nukualofa 
are the graves of those early martyrs, shadowed by dark, mournful 
casuarina trees. 

Leaving the church, on the little grassy hill, we descended to 
the dead level, and passed long rows of thatched houses embowered 
in flowering shrubs, with banana and pine-apple gardens. These 
are the homes of the mission students and their families, — all 
very tidy, and with well-kept grass paths and green lawn all 

All the native houses here are oval in form, having both ends 
rounded. They have the same deep thatch as the Fijian houses, 
generally of reeds or wild sugar-cane. The walls are of plaited 
cocoa-palm leaves or reeds interlaced. The houses have no stone 
foundation to raise them above the damp earth, and in many of the 
poorer huts the floors are merely strewn with dried grass instead of 
having neat mats, such as the poorest Fijian would possess. Only 
in the wealthier houses did we see coarse mats, made of pandanus. 
In the majority, however, there is an inner room screened off to 
form a separate sleeping corner ; and we noticed that the Tongan 
pillow closely resembles that of Fiji, being merely a bit of bamboo 
supported by two legs. The cooking is generally done in a hut by 
itself, built over an oven in the ground ; but a good many ovens 
are al fresco, and the daily yams, or the pig of high festivals, are 
baked quite in public. 

10 A lady's cp.uise. 

Mr Baker,^ wlio is the liead of the mission here, was absent, but 
we called on his wife, who received us kindly, and made me a 
present of a pretty Tongan basket and combs. She regretted that 
she could not offer to take me for a drive, her carriage having come 
to grief. There are all manner of vehicles here — wonderful in our 
eyes after having so long looked with reverence on the engineer's 
wheel-barroAV as the only wheeled conveyance in Fiji ! There are 
also a number of horses, descendants of t^ose left here by Captain 
Cook, A.D. 1777, Avhich the Tongans ride at a hard gallop, with 
a tether rope round their necks in lieu of a bridle. Finding that 
Nukualofa was utterly lacking in picturesque incident (at least so 
it appeared to eyes satiated with Fijian beauty of scenery), we 
followed a broad grass path which runs along the shore and inter- 
sects the isle. Like everything else here, it is in apple-pie order. 
King George is too wise to waste the labour of his subjects, albeit 
convicts ; so instead of useless stone-driU. or treadmill, all Tongan 
criminals labour for the good of their brethren, eminently to the 
improvement of the isle. How often, in India and Ceylon, when 
unable to close my ears to the monotonous word of command of 
some police sergeant, "Take up — put down," " Take up — put 
down," I have watched the cruel waste of human strength ex- 
pended on lifting a heavy stone, carrying it so many paces, and 
putting it down — and then doing the same thing again, and again, 
and again, in the stifling heat of a tropical sun ! "Would that our 
jjrison disciplinarians might borrow a hint of wisdom from this 
once savage Tongan king ! 

Following the pleasant path, beneath the shadow of greenest 
bananas, with the sunlight streaming in mellow gold through the 
tall palms far overhead, we reached the village of ]\Iaofanga, where 
we found the bishop at the house of the Fathers. 

Vhve Lamaze then brought me here to the good Sisters, •who 
received me with open arms. The delicate one immediately slipped 

1 Since the ahove was ■written, Mr Watkin has been apj>ointed Chairman (or as 
■we niiglit say, Weslej-an Bishop) of Tongatabu. 

Mr Baker has ceased to ■work in connection ■with the mission, and now acts as 
riinie Minister to King George. 


out to do a little preliminary milking, that slie might give me a cup 
of delicious fresh milk, and with it she brought me some lovely 
blossoms from the little garden in which the Sisters cultivate tall 
French lilies and a few other flowers to mingle with the abundant 
pink oleanders, in their church decorations. 

After vespers, the day's work being done, they came to my cell, 
and we all sat down on the mats and had a pleasant little gossip. 
I think that a breath from the outside wicked world cannot quite 
have lost all charm, and two at least of these ladies have evidently 
lived in good French society. ]^ow they have gone to their cells, 
and there is hot a sound in the quiet night. My door opens on to 
a verandah leading into the garden, and just beyond lies a peace- 
ful burial-ground — neatly kept graves of Christian Tongans, some 
marked with simple crosses, and overgrown Avith Howers. 

^Now I must say good-night, as to-morrow Avill be a long day. 

Monday 10th, 

On Sunday morning I was awakened before dawn by hearing 
the Sisters astir. They were lighting their own tiny chapel, where, 
at sunrise, they had an early celebration, in order that they might 
not be obliged to remain fasting till the later service. 

At 7.30 they brought me cafe au lait in my cell, and at 8 we 
went together to high Mass in the large native church. Of course 
there was a very full congregation, as, the better to impress the 
native mind, all the French sailors were paraded, to say nothing of 
all the officers, who, dressed in full uniform, Avere ranged in a semi- 
circle inside the altar-rails, on shoAV — a A-^ery trying position, espe- 
cially to the excellent captain, avIio, though a thoroughly good man, 
would scarcely be selected as a very rigid Catholic. Indeed I can- 
not think that devotion to the Church is a marked characteristic of 
this mission ship. 

Accustomed only to see the good bishop in his ordinary garb of 
rusty black and faded purple, it was startling to see him assume the 
gorgeous Episcopal vestments of gold brocade Avith scarlet linings 
■ — the mitre, which was put off and on so frequently at different 
parts of the service, and all the other ecclesiastical symbols. The 


friendly priests, too, were hard to recogiiise in their richly brocaded 
vestments ; and I confess that to my irreverent eyes the predom- 
inance of yellow and scarlet, and a good many other things besides, 
forcibly recalled the last gorgeous ritualistic services I had witnessed 
in many Buddhist temples in Ceylon, and on the borders of Thibet. 
Such im])ressions tend to wandering thoughts, and mine, I fear, are 
apt to become rather " mixed." Anyhow it was a relief when the 
scarlet and gold vestments Avere replaced by purple, Avith beautiful 
white lace. All the accessories were excellent. A native played 
the harmonium well, and Tongan enfants de chceur chanted the ser- 
vice admirably. Altogether the scenic effect was striking. 

Chairs had been provided for all the foreigners present, and of 
course I sat with the Sisters, though it would have seemed more 
natural to curl up on a mat beside the native women, as we do in 
Fiji. These Catholic Tongans so far retain their former customs, 
that they continue to sit on the ground, although the polished 
wooden floor, which has replaced the soft grass and mats of old 
days, is not exactly a luxurious seat. 

In the Wesleyan churches, which are here built as much as 
possible on ugly foreign models, regular benches are the rule. I 
trust it will be long ere our simple and suitable churches in Fiji 
are replaced by buildings of that sort. I grieve to say that this is 
by no means the only point in which the natives here have departed 
from primitive custom. N^ot content with the noble work of utterly 
exterminating idolatry and cannibalism, the teachers in these isles 
are afflicted with an unwholesome belief in foreign garments, and 
by every means in their power encourage the adoption of European 
cloth and unbecoming dresses ; consequently many of the Tongan 
men glory in full suits of black, while some of the girls appear 
in gaudy and vulgar hats, trimmed Avith artificial flowers. Imagine 
these surmounting a halo of spiral curls ! 

Is it not strange that this admirable mission, Avhich has done 
such magnificent Avork in these isles, cannot be content to alloAV its 
Tongan converts the same liberty in outer matters as its wise repre- 
sentatives in Fiji alloAv their congregations 1 Here the " gold ring 
and goodly apparel " are promoted to the foremost stiff benches. 


There tlie distracting " care for raiment " is reduced to a minimum, 
and all the people kneel together devoutly, on the soft accustomed 
mats, in houses of the same type as their cool pleasant homes, 
without a thought that a building of a European type, with hard 
uncomfortable seats, and unbecoming foreign clothes, can render 
their prayer and praise more acceptable to their Father in heaven, 

Nothing astonishes me more, in reading any of the early mis- 
sionary records of grand work done in these seas, than the frequent 
laudatory allusions to the general adoption by the converts of 
some fearful and wonderful head-dress, in imitation of the hideous 
bonnets of our grandmothers, and worn by the wives of the early 
missionaries. Immense praise was bestowed on the ingenious 
females who, under the direction of those excellent women, suc- 
ceeded in manufacturing coal-scuttle bonnets of cocoa-palm leaves. 
Still more startling was the same monstrous form, when cunningly 
joined pieces of thin tortoise - shell were the materials used to 
imitate the brown silk bonnet of England ! We may well rejoice 
that these horrors are no longer an integral feature of Christianity 
in the South Seas ! It is sufficiently dreadful to see the ultra 
" respectable " classes donning coats, waistcoats, and trousers. 

Immediately after service I returned to luncheon on board, to 
be ready to start with Monseigneur Elloi for Mua, which is the 
principal lloman Catholic station here, distant about twelve miles. 
A large man-of-war boat with twelve rowers carried the bishop's 
party, which consisted of two Fathers, and four of the ship's 
officers. Several others got horses and rode across the isle. A 
party of Tongan students filled another boat. "Wind, tide, and 
current being against us, the journey took three hours. It is a 
dreary coast, everywhere bound by a wide expanse of villanous 
shore-reef, which makes landing simply impossible. The approach 
to Mua is by a channel which seemed to me several miles long, 
and is like a river cut through the reef, which edges it on either 
side. Here we rowed against a sweeping current, and the men 
had hard work to make way. 

On reaching Mua we found the riders awaiting us, and a great 
procession of priests, headed by P^re Chevron, a fine grey-haired 

14 A lady's cruise. 

old man, wlio lias been toiling here for thirty-five years. Scarlet and 
■svhite-ruhed acolytes and others, carried really handsome flags and 
banners. Their chanting was excellent. They escorted the bishop 
to the beautiful Tongan church, which is a building of purely native 
type, with heavy thatch, and all the posts, beams, and other timbers 
are fastened together without the use of a single nail. All are tied 
with strong vines from the forests, and plaited over with sennit — 
i.e., string of divers fibres, — of hybiscus, cocoa-palm, pandanus, and 
other plants, ranging in colour through all shades of yellow, brown, 
and black. These are laid on in beautiful and most intricate pat- 
terns, and form a very effective and essentially Polynesian style of 
decoration. The altar, which is entirely of native manufacture, 
is really very fine. It is made of various island woods, inlaid 
with whales'-tooth ivory and mother-of-pearl. All the decorations 
in this church are in excellent taste, and bespeak most loving 
care. Here, as at Maofanga, comfort is sacrificed to appearance 
by the substitution of a polished wooden floor for the accustomed 
mats. I cannot say I think this an improvement, as it is a hard 
seat during a long service. 

However, on this occasion I did not experience its discomfort, 
for, shocking to say, in view of the example to the natives, none 
of us attended the service, but all went off at once, guided by M. 
Pinart (whose antiquarian instincts had already led him thither), 
to the tombs of the Toui-Tongas, the old kings of Tonga. They 
are formed of gigantic blocks of volcanic rock, said to have been 
brought to these flat isles from the Wallis group. They are laid 
in three courses of straight lines, like cyclopean walls, and lie 
at intervals through the bush. They are much overgrown with 
tangled vegetation, especially with the widespreading roots of many 
banyan trees, and though wonderful, are not sketchable. 

In olden days, when the Toui-Tonga was here laid to his rest, 
his favourite wife and most valued possessions were buried with 
him. All his subjects, young and old, male and female, shaved 
their heads and mourned for four months. Those engaged in pre- 
paring his sacred body for the grave were obliged to live apart for 
ten months, as being tahu or sacred. 


"When the corj-jse had been deposited on tliis great burial-mound, 
all the men, women, and children assembled, and sat round in a 
great circle, bearing large torches made of dried palm-leaves. Six 
of the principal men then walked several times round and round 
the place of burial, in sunwise procession, waving the blazing 
torches on high ; finally, these were extinguished and laid on tlie 
ground. Then all the people arose and made the sunwise circuit 
of the TOjal tombs, as has been done from the earliest days, by 
men of all nations and colours,^ and then they, too, extinguished 
the emblematic torches, and laid them on the earth, in memory of 
him whose flame of life had passed away for ever from the poor 
dead clay. This ceremony was repeated on fourteen successive 

The mystery in all antiquities of this sort lies in the problem, 
how a race possessed only of stone adzes could possibly have 
hewn these huge blocks in the first instance, and how they then 
transported them on their frail canoes across wide distances of 
open sea. Tombs of the same character were common to all these 
groups, and were called marais. They combined the purj)ose of 
mausoleums of, the chiefs, and of temples where human and other 
sacrifices were offered. 

Some of them were of gigantic dimensions. Captain Cook 
described one at Paparra in Tahiti, which consisted of an immense 
pyramid, 267 feet long by 87 wide, standing on a i)avement 
measuring 360 feet by 354. On its summit stood a wooden 
image of a bird, and a fish carved in stone, representing the crea- 
tures especially reverenced by that tribe. 

The pyramid was, in fact, a huge cairn of round pebbles, " which, 
from the regularity of their figure, seem to have been wrought." 
It was faced with great blocks of white coral, neatly squared and 
polished, and laid in regular courses, forming eleven great steps, 
each of which was 4 feet high, so that the height of the pile was 
44 feet. Some of these stones were upwards of 3 feet in length 
and 2| in width. The pavement on which the pyramid was 

1 For munerous instances of this, see 'From the Hebrides to the Iliuialaj'as' 
(C. F. Gordon Cuiiiining), vol. i. pp. 203-210. 


built was of volcanic rock, also hewn into shape, some of the 
stones being even larger than the coral blocks, and all perfectly- 
joined together, without mortar. 

As Captain Cook found no trace of any quarry in the neighbour- 
hood, he inferred that these blocks must have been carried from a 
considerable distance ; and even the coral with which the pyramid 
Avas faced, lies at least three feet under the water. The question, 
therefore, which puzzled him, as it does us this day, was, How did 
these savages, ignorant of all mechanical appliances, and possess- 
ing no iron tools, contrive to hew these wonderful mnrais, which 
were the temples and tombs of every Polynesian group? The 
majority Avere pulled to pieces by the natives when they aban- 
doned idolatry, but happily for the antiquarian, some of the tombs 
of the mighty dead escaped these over -zealous reformers; and 
though the coral altars are no longer polluted by human blood, 
the grey ruins still remain, now overgrown by forest-trees, and 
more solemn in their desolation than when those hideous rites 
were practised by the poor savages at the bidding of ruthless 

In the course of our walk Ave saw some lovely little pigeons, 
bright green Avith purple head, and a number of larger ones, green 
and yelloAv. Also many small bats skimming about the cocoa- 
palms, darting to and fro in pursuit of the insects which make 
their home in the crown of the tree. Towards dusk a multitude 
of fruit-bats Avith soft fur appeared, flapping on heavy Aving, and 
feeding on the floAvers of various tall trees. AVe also noticed a 
number of tree swifts, reminding us forcibly of our OAvn swallows : 
like them they skim airily about the houses, but instead of resting 
Tinder the eaves, they seek a safer home in the tall palms. 

Eeturning to the village, Ave lingered beneath the fine old trees 
known as Captain Cook's, till summoned by the Fathers to supper 
at their house, Avhich stands close to the church. They gave us 
the best they had, — namely, salt-junk and villanously cooked cab- 
bage, Avhereat their naval guests secretly groaned, and bewailed the 
excellent cuisine they had left on board ; but to these good ascetics 
such fare seemed too luxurious, so, although it was Sunday, and a 


great festival, they would taste nothing but a few slices of yam. I 
find them most interesting companions, having been so long in the 
isles, that they are familiar with all details of native manners and 
customs. The old P^re Chevron is particularly pleasant. He has 
worked here for several years longer than our good old friend Pfere 
Breheret of Levuka, to whom he bade me send his loving greetings, 
which I hope you will deliver. 

After supper with the Fathers, a kind Scotchwoman, Mrs Bar- 
nard, the only white woman in the place, came to take me to 
her house for the night, where she made me most comfortable, 
though I could not but fear that she and her husband had given 
me their own room. He is agent for a merchant's house in the 
colonies. I found my hostess was a Cameron from Lochaber, who 
has retained her pure Gaelic tongue, and speaks both it and English, 
with the sweet intonation ascribed to the Princess of Thule. Great 
was her delight when she learnt the real name of her guest, and 
many a pleasant reminiscence she had to tell of certain of my own 
nearest kindred. . . . "We talked of mutual friends in the dear 
old north and on the west coast, and many a touching memory was 
reawakened for us both. Verily the ends of the world are bound 
by tender human links ! 

My hostess was herself astir long before dawn, to prepare break- 
fast for her countrywoman, as I was to make an early expedition 
with my French friends to Haamonga, distant about eight miles, to 
see a wonderful trilithon. The Fathers lent us their dogcart, but 
had no horse. However, they succeeded in borrowing one, which 
]\r. Pinart volunteered to drive. It proved a brisk trotter, and we 
sped along cheerily. Most of the others rode, escorted by two 
hanaques — a word which, though it simply means " a man," is used 
by the French as a generic term for all manner of islanders in 
Xorth and South Pacific. 

It was a lovely morning and a delightful drive, over a good 
broad grass road — the bush on either side fragrant with jessamine, 
and the trees in many places matted with such tangles of large, 
brilliantly blue convolvulus as I have seen nowhere else but in the 
Himalayas. The Idac marine ipomea abounds everywhere, and we 


18 A lady's cruise. 

passed dense masses of the large-leaved Avhite sort. From tlicse 
lovely hiding-places flashed green pigeons and blue kingfishers, 
startled by our approach. Tall sugar-cane, wild ginger with scarlet 
blossom, and blue clitoria, with here and there a clump of glossy 
bananas or quaint papawa, kept up the tropical character of the 

We had no difficulty in finding the great dolmen of which we 
were in search. It stands on a grassy lawn, surrounded by bush, 
and is certainly a remarkable object. It differs from all other 
trilithons I have seen or heard of, in that the two supporting 
pillars are cut out at the top to secure the transverse capstone, 
which is hewn. 

The height above ground is 15 feet, length 18 feet, and the 
width 12 feet. K'o thing whatever is known concerning its origin, 
and the natives have apparently no tradition concerning it. 

This is the oidy rude stone monument I have seen in the Pacific, 
but I am told that others have been observed in different groups, 
though on a smaller scale ; for instance, in the Society Isles, where 
the great altar of the principal tnarai on Huahine is a large slab of 
unhewn stone, resting on three boulders. Around it are the rock- 
terraces which formed the rude temple. 

At Haamonga the cyclopean trilithon stands alone. All others 
known to us, such as those at Stonehenge, at Tripoli, Algeria, and 
in Central America, are found in connection with circles of huge 
stones, to which they have apparently been the gateway ; but here 
there does not appear to have been any circle, not even a detached 

In its weird solitude it most resembles the cromlech of Byjnath 
in Bengal; but what may be its story none can possibly guess. 
One thing only is certain, that these grey stones were brought here 
by some long-forgotten race, who little dreamt, when they raised 
this ponderous monument, that a day would come when it shoiUd 
survive as the sole proof that they ever existed. 

We have been told that within the memory of persons now 
living, an enormous liava bowl stood on the horizontal stone, and 
that most solemn and sacred drinking festivals were held here. It 

O uj 

Z _J 

O io 

-■- > 

^ _j 


is very probable that this may have been the case, as the people 
would, in heathen days, very naturally retain some tradition of 
reverence for the trilithon, as the peasants of Brittany, and, I may 
say, of Britain, do for similar erections to the present day, as- 
sembling for annual festivals at " the stones," though the origin 
of Carnac, Stonehenge, and Stennis, is as unknown as that of 

Eeturning to the village we saw that the church was crowded, 
and that there were a number of candidates for confirmation. 
Judging that the service would occupy some time, and being 
anxious to see as much of the neighbourhood as possible, we drove 
along the coast to a particularly fine banyan, noted in Captain 
Cook's chart, and beneath its shadow we rested awhile, and enjoyed 
a very pleasant half-hour overlooking a calm, beautiful sea. 

"We reached Mua just as the congregation was dispersing, and 
were troubled with some qualms on the score of our bad example, 
but the considerate bishop gave us full absolution, I regret to say 
that a considerable proportion of the people were like hideously- 
dressed-up apes, masculine and feminine — many of the former in 
seedy black clothes, and some of the latter attired in gay flimsy 
silk gowns, inflated with large crinolines, and with baby hats, 
trimmed Avitli pink and blue flowers, stuck on the top of their 
fuzzy heads. Hitherto, as you know, my ideas of Tongans have 
been derived only from the stately men and women who have 
settled in Fiji, and there, like their neighbours, have retained the 
graceful drapery of native cloth. Here the influence of certain 
persons interested in trade is so strong, that the manufacture of 
tuppa is discouraged by every possible means ; and a heavy penalty 
attaches to making it on any, except one, day in the week. It 
seems that this law was passed in King George's absence, and I am 
happy to learn that he was exceedingly angry — -though, as yet, the 
laAv stands unrepealed, and the manufacture is doomed to cease 
altogether this year, 

AVhoever is to blame, the system of taxation and fines is some- 
thing astounding. A woman who is found without a pinafore, 
even in her own house, is fined two dollars, no matter Iioav ample 

20 A lady's cruise. 

is lier petticoat. Slioukl she venture beyond lier tlireshold minus 
this garment, she is liable to a fine of three dollars. If caught 
smoking, she is fined two and a half dollars, and one and a half 
dollar costs. Imagine such legislation for a people whose highest 
proof of reverence in olden days was to strip themselves to the 
waist in presence of their king, or on approaching a sacred spot, 
and who still consider any upper garment as altogether superfluous 
— a people, moreover, whose very nature it is to be for ever rolling 
up minute cigarettes for themselves and their friends ! 

The most atrocious of all the regulations is one inflicting a fine 
of ten dollars on any man found without a shirt, though wearing 
such a sulu (kilt) as would in Fiji be considered full dress, either 
at church or Government House. One of the lads told" us he had 
actually been made to pay this fine a few days ago, having put off" 
his shirt while fishing. Wet or dry they must wear the unaccus- 
tomed foreign clothing, instead of the former coating of oil, which 
made these people as impervious to water as so many ducks. But 
whether by compulsion or for vainglory, the hideous foreign clothes 
are worn during the burning heat of the day ; then, under the 
friendly veil of night, comfort and economy are consulted by dis- 
pensing with superfluous garments ; and so the heavy night-dews 
act with double power, and chills produce violent coughs, which 
too often end in consumption and death. ^ 

1 I am happy to say that the kinc,''s good sense carried the day, and enabled the 
wishes of the people to find an independent voice. In July 1879, King George 
formally opened a Tongan Parliament, at which, for the first time, rej^resentatives 
of the people were present, under the new constitution, to discuss all questions 
relating to their own wellbeing. Ere the close of the session, in the middle of 
September, the law prohibiting the manufacture and wearing of native cloth, and 
rendering certain articles of clothing compulsory, was abolished. Men and women 
are now permitted to wear any clothes they please, in doors or out, provided, of 
course, that they are decently clad according to South Sea interpretation of the 
word. The only exception to this happy rule of liberty is the interior of the 
Wesleyan Church at Nukualofa, Avhere it is still necessary for men to appear in 
full European dress — coat, trousers, shoes, &c. — and for women to wear bonnets 
and dresses ! Those who cannot, or will not, comply with this regulation, must 
stay outside the sanctuary. 

The prohibition against women smoking was also modified. Doubtless the 
revenue will suft'er from the diminution of fines, but that can scarcely be a matter 
of much regret. Various other wise measures were passed, showing that the Ton- 


These people, like most kindred races when brought in contact 
with civilisation, are fast dying out. I believe there are now only 
about 9000 in the Tongan group, 5000 on Happai, and 5000 in 
Vavau district. They certainly are a very fine well-built race, 
with clear yellowish-broAvn skin and Spanish colouring ; they also 
resemble Spaniards or Italians in their animation of expression, — 
the muscles of the forehead working in a most remarkable manner, 
especially to express wonder or interest. They have fine faces, 
well-developed forehead, strong chin, and features generally like 
those of an average good-looking European. Not the slightest 
approach to the " blubber lips and monkey faces " of negro races, 
or of the isles lying nearer to the equator. On the contrary, the 
mouth is well formed, and shows beautiful teeth. The eyes are 
invariably dark brown, generally large and clear. The beard, 
moustaches, and eyebrows are allowed to retain their natural glossy 
black ; but, as in Fiji, the hair is dyed of a light sienna by fre- 
quent washing in coral-lime, and encircles the head with a yellow 
halo, strangely in contrast with the dark eyes and eyebrows. Like 
that of the Papuan, rather than the pure Polynesian races, it takes 
the form of a mop of innumerable very fine spiral cm-Is, of which 
each individual hair twists itself into a tight corkscrew. It is crisp 
and glossy, and very elastic ; and if you draw it out full length, it 
at once springs back to its natural form. Some of the women now 
allow their hair to grow quite long. Both men and women march 
along with a proud overbearing gait that always gives one an impres- 
sion that they look on all other races with something of contempt. 

gans have awakened to understand the folly of attempting to introduce the manners 
and customs of foreign countries, without reference to the requirements and neces- 
sities of their own people. Consequently several excellent Tongan customs relative 
to tenure of lands, tribes, and status of the people, are now legalised ; and the 
representatives have shown their strong and sensible desire to retain all that was 
good in their national code of laws, but which had been put away, together with 
things evil, at the suggestion of resident foreigners. 

That the latter were so effectually prevented from unduly influencing the young 
Parliament, was doubtless due to the presence of H.B.M. Deputy-Coniunssioner 
for Tonga, A. P. Maudslay, and of Mr Wilkinson, both of whom have been engaged 
in the establishment of the new Government in Fiji, and well know the wisdom 
of ruling a semi-civilised race by retaining, so far as is possible, their own ancient 
feudal customs. 

22 A lady's cruise. 

Our morning's work had given us such keen appetites that we 
did more than justice to the breakfast which awaited us at the 
Fathers' house, though it must be confessed that the fare was of 
the coarsest ; it was, however, tlie very best they had to offer, and 
was evidently considered quite a feast. My comrades congratulated 
one another that such viands did not often fall to their lot ! 

Immediately after breakfast we started on our return journey 
with a high tide. "Wind and current being in our favour, we flew 
down the river-like passage through the wide coral-reef, which we 
had ascended with such toil, and less than two hours brought us 
back to the good ship, and to cordial greeting from her genial 
captain. He had invited King George of Tonga and his grandson 
to dine on board, to meet the bishop and the Fathers, and I was 
invited to join the party. The king, who ought properly to be 
called Tupou or Toubo, which is the surname of all the royal 
family, was received with a salute of twenty-one guns — the ship 
dressed and yards manned, with sailors shouting " Vive la Ee- 
publique ! " (an institution to which, I fancy, that most men on 
board are profoundly indifferent — in fact several are declared 
royalists, and faithful adherents of Henri V.) 

The Tongans were duly conducted all over the ship, and ex- 
amined machinery, guns, men's quarters, and every detail, with 
apparent interest. A long dinner followed, from which I escaped 
as soon as I conveniently could. 

The king is a very fine old man, in height about 6 feet 2 inches. 
He was dressed in a general's full uniform, and his grandson in 
that of an aide-de-camp — cocked-hat, &c. I confess I think that 
Thakombau and Maafu, in their drapery of Fijian tappa, are far 
more imposing figures. The king's son, Unga, is at present seri- 
ously ill. His three sons govern the three groups into which 
tliis island-kingdom of Tonga divides itself — namely, Tongatabu, 
Happai, and Vavau. There are only about sixty isles in all, and 
their area is about 600 square miles ; so this is a small matter 
compared with the 7000 square miles of Fiji. I am told that 
here the land all belongs to the king, so that any one wishing to 
settle can only do so as a tenant, leasing land from his INIajesty. 


The feast being over, le Roi hxnaque departed amid blue and 
green lights, one of •which was reserved for us — i.e., the ecclesi- 
astical party — returning to the priest's house and to the convent, 
Avhere the pleasant Sisters awaited me with kindest welcome ; and 
we all sat on the mats in my cell and chatted for a while. 

Xow I am so very cold that I must go to bed. I think this 
climate must be far more trying than that of Fiji. The heat in 
the daytime feels to me greater, and every night is bitterly cold, 
necessitating piles of rugs and blankets ; while the dew is so 
drenching that the roofs always drip as if there had been heavy 
rain. I do not wonder at the delicate little Soeur Marie having 
fallen into consumption. It carries off many strong natives. 

Tuesday Night. 

"Wasn't it just cold when I left off writing ! I lay awake shiver- 
ing for two hours, though wrapped up in blanket, cloak, and big 
tartan plaid. I find that the island of Tongatabii is known all 
over the group as the cold isle, and I am ready to endorse the 

I devoted this forenoon to a sketch of this hospitable cottage- 
convent, and in the afternoon went alone to see Mrs Eaker, who 
took me to visit the queen — a fine old lady, but very helpless, 
having dislocated her hip by a fall eight years ago. She was 
sitting on the bare boards in a wretched little room of a small 
house close to the large villa or palace in which King George 
receives his guests, but in which he never lives, preferring that his 
home should be fuka Tonga — i.e.. adhering to native customs so 
far as is consistent with keeping up appearances. But here, again, 
we were struck by the uncomfortable substitution of a hard wooden 
floor for the soft mats of a truly native home. As civilised houses 
are glazed, the poor old queen, though much oppressed with lieat, 
sat beside a glass window, shaded by a filthy tattered rag which 
had once been a curtain, but which in its palmiest days had been 
immeasurably inferior to a handsome drapery of native cloth : in- 
deed the only symptom of comfort in the place was a curtain 
of Fijian tappa. 


The king and his chiefs were in council over church matters in 
a small room adjoining the queen's, so we had to talk in whispers. 
Various female relations were grouped round the door, making the 
hot room still hotter. I am much struck by tlie fact that these 
proud Tongans make use of no titles. The Fijians always prefix 
the word Andi — i.e., Lady — to the name of a woman of rank ; 
but here the name is used bluntly, whether in addressing a prin- 
cess or her handmaid. 

Hearing of the grave assembly of the chiefs to discuss the affairs 
of the Wesleyan Church, brought back vividly to my mind all 
that I had heard in former days of this very King George, and of 
the prominent part taken by him in rousing these islanders to 
abandon their gross heathenism and cannibalism. So effectual has 
been his work, that now not one trace of these old evils remains, 
and these islanders are looked upon as old-established Christians. 

I had a pleasant walk back in the twilight, along the broad 
grass road which runs parallel with the sea, and am now spending 
my last evening in this peaceful convent. I am truly sorry that 
it is the last, for it will feel like leaving real friends to part from 
these kind Sisters, who make much of me, and do enjoy coming to 
sit with me in the evenings for a little quiet chat. They bring all 
my meals in here, as it is against their rules to allow me to feed 
with them in. the refectory. In this respect they are far more 
rigorous than the Fathers, who, as you know, have invited me to 
supper and breakfast at their house. 



On Board Le Seignelay, 
Wednesday, V2th Scytcmbcr 1S77. 

Here I am once more safely ensconced in my favourite niche, 
which is the carriage of a big gun. Filled with red cushions, it 
makes a capital sofa, and is a cosy, quiet corner, and a capital 


point of observation, whence, "without being in the way, I can 
look down on the various manoeuvres on deck — parades, gun- 
jDractice, fire-parade, and so forth. We embarked this morning 
early, the four Sisters, by special sanction of the bishop, coming 
to see the last of me, and to breakfast with M. Aube ; — an out- 
rageous piece of dissipation, tliey said, but almost like once again 
setting foot in France. Four of the priests likewise escorted the 
bishop, and we had an exceedingly cheerful ecclesiastical breakfast- 
party, after which came a sorrowful parting, and then we sailed 
away from Tonga, taking with us the Pere Padel, a fine old 
Ereton Father. 

We are now passing through the Happai group, and hope to- 
night to catch a glimpse of the volcano of Tofua, or, as it is also 
called by the natives, Coe aft a Devolo (the Devil's fire). It is a 
perfect volcanic cone 2500 feet in height, densely wooded to the 
edge of the crater. Strange to say, though the isle simply con- 
sists of this one active volcano, there is said to be a lake on the 
summit of the mountain. It is not stated to be a geyser ; but the 
Tongans who visit it bring back small black pebbles, which they 
strew on the graves of their dead. 

The Happai group consists of about forty small isles, some 
purely volcanic, and others, as usual, combining coral on a volcanic 
foundation. About twenty of these are inhabited. 

Neiafu, Vavau, Thursday Evening. 

The volcano proved to be quiescent. Not even a curl of 
luminous smoke betrayed its character. The sea, however, made 
amends by the brilliancy of its phosphoric lights. It was a dead 
calm, and from beneath the surface shone a soft mellow glow, 
caused, I am told, by vast shoals of living creatures, as though the 
mermaids were holding revel beneath the waves, and had sum- 
moned all their luminous subjects to join in the dance, I know 
few things in nature more fascinating than this lovely fairy-like 
illumination. Its tremulous glow and occasional brilliant shooting 
flashes are to me always suggestive of our own northern lights — 
a sort of marine aurora. 


Our course this morning was very pretty, steaming for many 
miles through narroAV and intricate passages between the richly 
wooded headlands of Yavau, the great island, and many outlying 
islets. Finally, we anchored in what seemed like a quiet land- 
locked lake, at the village of Keiafu. 

The bishop went ashore at once, and was reverently welcomed 
by tAvo priests, one of whom, Pere Ercton, has been here for about 
thirty years, living a life so ascetic as to amaze even his brethren, 
so completely does mind appear to have triumphed over matter. 
AVe sinners all agree that having each been intrusted with the 
care of an excellent animal, we are only doing our duty by feeding 
and otherwise caring for it to the best of our ability. So the 
ascetic example is one which we reverence, but haA'e no intention 
of following, cold water and yam, day after day, being truly unin- 
viting. But the old man has not forgotten how to be genial and 
kind to others, and is a general favourite. 

The Eoraan Catholic flock here is sniall, as is also the church, 
which, however, is very neat. The Wesleyan Mission flourishes 
here, as it does throughout these Friendly Isles. In the three 
groups — namely, Tonga, Happai, and Yavau, it has 125 chapels, 
with an average attendance of 19,000 persons, of whom 8000 are 
church members. Four white missionaries superintend the work 
of 13 native ministers, upwards of 100 schoolmasters, and above 
1.50 local preachers. At the Tubou Theological College — so named 
in honour of King George Tubou — there are about 100 students 
preparing for work as teachers or pastors. 

I landed with M. Pinart, and a half-caste Samoan woman, who 
could talk some English, acted as our interpreter with the widow 
of the late " governor," a large comely woman, who invited us to 
her cool Tongan house, where friendly, pleasant-looking girls peeled 
delicious oranges faster than we could eat them. This whole village 
and district is one orange-grove ; every house is embowered in large 
orange-trees — the earth is strewn with their fruit, the air fragrant. 
AM^iat an enchanting change after Tonga, where there are no orange- 
trees, and where a sense of stifi'ness and over-regulation seemed to 
pervade life ! 


The present " governor " is a fine tall young cliief, rejoicing in 
the name of Wellington. He is acting for his father, Unga, King 
George's illegitimate son, whom he has declared heir to the throne, 
but who is at present in very bad health. The young chief seems 
inclined to hold the reins firmly and well. But at present the 
Vavau chiefs are in some disgrace with King George, as they are 
suspected of plotting against Unga, in favour of Maafu.^ 

Having eaten oranges to our hearts' content, we continued our 
walk to the Wesleyan Mission, and on our way thither met the 

Eev. Fox on his way to the ship, to see if we had a doctor 

on board. The latter having already gone ashore, we returned 
together to the house — a quiet pleasant home, but for the present 
saddened by the serious illness of the young wife, who, a few 
weeks ago, gave birth to her first child. As Vavau can furnish 
neither nurse nor doctor, the wife of the missionary in Happai had, 
at great personal inconvenience, come thence in an open canoe to 
officiate on the occasion. She had, however, been compelled to 
return soon afterwards to her own nurslings, leaving the young 
mother and her baby in charge of native women. A very slow 
recovery, accompanied with some unfavourable symptoms, had pro- 
duced such depression and alarm, that just before our arrival, the 
poor husband had actually been making arrangements for his wife's 
return to Sydney for proper medical care. But, to get there, in- 
volved, in the first instance, a journey of about 200 miles in an 
open canoe to reach Tonga, Avhence she would have to proceed 
alone, in a wretched little sailing vessel, on a voyage of upwards of 
2000 miles (as the crow flies) — a serious undertaking for a woman 
in robust health, but a terrible prospect for an invalid witli a young 

Happily the timely arrival of the Seignelay dispelled this night- 
mare. M. Thoulon, the good kind doctor (himself pere de famiUc), 
at once vetoed the rash arrangement, and his well-applied wisdom, 
and kind encouraging words, have already restored heart to the 

^ A great Tongan chief, settled in Fiji, who, up to the time of annexation, 
contested with Thakomhau for the supremacy. I have just received news of his 


dispirited young wife; while a congenial talk with M. Pinart on. 
the sul)ject of Polynesian dialects and races, has helped to cheer 
the husband, who, later, took us to see his schools, pleasantly 
situated on a wooded hill, commanding a lovely view of the land- 
locked harbour. Then strolling back through the orange-groves, 
we returned on board, where I am now "writing. The captain and 
several of the officers have gone off duck-shooting, and expect good 

Saturday Evening, 

Yesterday morning, after a very early breakfast, I went ashore 
at 6.30 with M. Pinart and Dr Thoulon. Mr Fox was waiting 
at the pier, and returned with us to the mission-house, where we 
found the patient already on the mend. I acted the part of inter- 
preter for the doctor, who was happily able to supply, as well as 
prescribe, all needful remedies and tonics. So when we returned 
this afternoon to say good-bye, the young mother looked like a 
different creature — so bright and happy. Truly a blessed skill is 
that of the kindly leech ! 

The previous evening Mr Fox had undertaken to borrow some 
horses, and escort us to the summit of " The Pudding," a wooded 
hill, commanding a splendid map-like view of the strangely inter- 
sected land and water on every side of us. The isles lie so close, 
one to the other, that we could scarcely believe we were looking on 
the ocean, and not rather on a network of clear calm lakes and 
rivers. All the isles appear to be densely wooded, but at intervals 
along the shore we could distinguish villages nestling among the 
trees. One small island has recently been ceded to the Germans 
as a coaling station, and there seems some reason for anxiety lest 
this small foothold should be taken further advantage of. 

Our ride in the early morning was exceedingly pleasant. I had 
insured my own comfort by bringing my side-saddle ashore. By 
some mistake we found that the stirrup had been left in Fiji ; but 
happily, on such a ship as this, to want a thing is to have it, and I 
hear that a new stirrup and strap are to be ready for me ere we 
reach Samoa. On the summit of the hill we found breakfast all 



ready, a party of natives from the mission having made an early 
start with tea, yams, ham and eggs — all of which had been cooked 
gipsy -fashion. To this foundation we added the contents of a 
hamper, which the thoughtful captain had directed his maitre 
d.hotel to send with us. So we had a royal feast, and then I 
settled down to do a bird's-eye sketch of the strange world out- 
spread below, while gentle and rather pretty brown girls, with 
sienna hair, sat by, peeling oranges by the dozen, with which they 
fed us all incessantly. 

It is the part of true hospitality to peel oranges for a guest, as 
their thick green skins contain so much essential oil, that the mere 
act of removing them makes the hands very oily and uncomfortable. 
Woe betide the rash and thirsty stranger who puts the green fruit 
to his lips to suck it, as he might a golden orange in Europe. For 
many hours the burning pain of almost blistered lips will remind 
him of his folly. 

Returning to the village, we found a large ten-oared boat waiting 
for us, the captain having most kindly placed it at our disposal, to 
enable us to explore the coast. Mr Fox guided us to a truly 
exquisite cave, about five miles distant. Never before, in all my 
wanderings, had my eyes been gladdened by such an ideal fairy 
grot. We rowed along the face of beautiful crags, which we had 
passed on the previous day without a suspicion of the wonderful 
hiding-place within them. Suddenly we steered right into a narrow 
opening, and found ourselves in a threat vaulted cavern like a grand 
cathedral — a coral cave, with huge white stalactites hanging in 
clusters from the roof, and forming a perfect gallery along one side, 
from which we could almost fancy that white-veiled nuns were 
looking down on us. 

The great outer cave is paved with lapis-lazuli, at least with 
water of the purest ultra-marine, which was reflected in rippling 
shimmers of blue and green on the white marble roof. For the 
sun was lowering, and shone in glory through the western arch- 
way, lighting up the mysterious depths of a great inner cavern, 
which otherwise receives but one ray of light from a small opening 
far overhead, through which we saw blue sky and green leaves. 

30 A lady's cruise. 

!N'o scene-painter coulJ have devised so romantic a picture for any 
fairy pantomime. Tlie French sailors were ecstatic in their delight. 
They collected piles of old cocoa-nut fibre and dry palm-leaves and 
kindled bright blazing fires, whose ruddy light glowed on the dark 
crevices, which even the setting sun could not reach, and blended 
with the blue and green reflected lights, and both played on the 
white coral walls, and the white boat, and white figures — (for of 
course, in the tropics, the sailors all wear their Avhite suits). Soon 
these active lads contrived to reach the gallery, and glided behind 
the stalactite pillars, making the illusion of the nuns' gallery still 
more perfect. Altogether it was a scene of dream-like loveliness. 

All this coast is cavernous, and most tempting to explore. 
Yery near my fairy cave lies the one described by Byron, in " The 
Island," which can only be reached by diving — 

" A spacious cave 
Whose only portal is the keyless wave 
(A liollow archway by the sun unseen 
Save through the billow's glassy veil of green)." 

A huge rock, about 60 feet high, rises from the sea, with nothing 
to indicate that it is hollow ; but at a considerable depth beneath 
low-water mark, there is an opening in the rock through which 
expert divers can enter, and find themselves in a cave about 40 
feet wide and 40 in height — the roof forming rude Gothic arches 
of very rich and varied colour, and the whole incrusted with 
stalactites. The clear green water forms the crystal pavement, but 
two lesser caves, branching off on either side, afford a dry resting- 
place to such as here seek a temporary refuge. The place is quite 
unique in its surpassing loveliness; and the brilliant phosphoric 
lights Avhich gleam with every movement of the water, and which 
are reflected in pale tremulous rays, that seem to trickle from the 
stalactites and lose themselves among the high arches, give to the 
whole a weird ghostly effect, quite realising all one's fancies of a 

This home of the mermaids was first discovered by a young 
Tongan, who was diving in pursuit of a wounded turtle. Filled 


with wonder and delight, he lingered a few moments in admiration, 
then, recollecting how valuable such a hiding-place might prove in 
days of ceaseless intertribal war, he determined to keep his own 
counsel. So when he returned to the surface he held his peace, 
and all his companions were filled with wonder and admiration at 
the length of time he could remain under water. 

Not very long after this, his family incurred the anger of the 
great chief of Vavau, and one and aU were disgraced, and in 
continual danger of their lives. But the chief had a beautiful 
daughter, who loved this bold young islesman, and though under 
any circumstances he was of too lowly birth to dare to claim her 
openly in marriage, he persuaded her to forsake her father's house 
and come to that which he had prepared for her in the romantic 

Here she remained hidden for several months, only venturing to 
swim to the upper world in the starlight, and ever on the alert to 
dive to her hiding-place on the slightest alarm. Of course her 
simple bathing dress of cocoa-nut oil and garlands did not suffer 
much from salt water; or if it did, trails of sea-weed quickly sup- 
plied fresh clothing. Her love brought constant supplies of fruit, 
to add to the fish which she herself provided : and so the happy 
weeks flew by, till at last the companions of the young man began 
to wonder why he left them so often, to go away all by himself, 
and especially they marvelled that he invariably returned with wet 
hair — (for the Tongans have the same aversion as the Fijians to 
wetting their hair, and rarely do so without good cause). So at 
length they tracked him, and saw that when his canoe reached the 
spot where he had stayed so long under water in pursuit of the 
turtle, he again plunged into the green depths, and there remained. 
They waited till he had returned to the land, suspecting no danger. 
Then they dived beside the great rock-mass, which seemed so solid, 
though it was but the crust of a huge bubble — and soon they too 
discovered the opening, through which they swam, and rising to the 
surface beheld the beautiful daughter of the chief, who had been 
mourned as one dead. So they carried her back to her indignant 
father — but what became of her hapless lover history does not 


record. Doubtless he was offered in sacrifice to the gods of 

"We peered down through the crystal waters to see whether we 
could discern the entrance to the lover's cave, but failed to do so. 
Except at very low tide, it is difficult for average SAvimmers to dive 
so low. "We only heard of two Englishmen who had succeeded. 
One was the early traveller, Mariner, who was present at a hava- 
drinking party of the chiefs in this cool grot; the other was the 
captain of an English man-of-war, who, in passing through the low 
rock archway, injured his back so seriously, that the people of 
Vavau believed him to have died in consequence.^ It appears 
that the passage into the cave bristles with sharp projecting points, 
and it is exceedingly difficult to avoid striking against them. A 
native having dived to the entrance then turns on his back, and 
iises his hands as buffers to keep himself off the rocky roof. 

Our row back to Neiafu was most lovely — sea, isles, and skj', 
vegetation and cliffs, all glorified in the light of the setting sun. 
As wo were returning to shore, to land Mr Fox, Captain Aube 
hailed us, and bade us invite him to dinner with him. I thought 
this very courteous, as of course, on such an essentially Eoman 
Catholic mission as this, there is just a little natural feeling that it 
may not be discreet to shoAv too much honour to the Protestant 
minister, who, however, met with a most cordial reception, and we 
had a very pleasant evening. 

This morning I was invited to accompany a party who started at 
daybreak to shoot wild duck on a pretty lake at some distance ; but 
as I had the option of returning to the grotto, I chose the latter. 
So the captain again lent me the ten-oared boat, and we made another 
pleasant party to the beautiful cave : but it lost much of its beauty 
by being seen in the cold shadow of early morning, instead of being 
illumined by the level rays of the evening sun. We repeated the 
palm-leaf bonfires, but felt that we were not exhibiting our dis- 
covery to the best advantage. However, I got a sketch, which has 
the one merit of being totally unlike anything else I ever attempted. 

"VVe returned too late for breakfast in the captain's cabin, so had 
1 Since my return to England, I have heard the statement corroborated. 


a clieeiy littla party in the ward-room, then went ashore to say- 
good-bye to our friends, and carry away last impressions of the 
fragrant orange-groves of Vavau. Then the bishop and the Fathers 
returned on board, and we sailed away from the Friendly Isles. 



From my Sofa in the Gun-carriage, 

ON Board the Seignelay, Sunday, I6th. 

My dear Xell, — I have asked Lady Gordon to send you a long 
letter to her, which I hope to post at Apia, so that I need not 
repeat Avhat I have already written. "We are having a most 
delightful cruise, with everything in our favour, and the kmdness 
of every one on board is not to be told. 

To begin with, Monseigneur Elloi, Eveque de Tipara, is a host 
in himself, so genial and pleasant, and so devoted to his brown 
flock. He is terribly unhappy about all the fighting in Samoa ; 
and I think the incessant wear and tear of mind and body he has 
undergone, in going from isle to isle, perpetually striving for peace, 
has greatly tended to break down his own health, for he is now 
very far from well, and every day that we touch land, and he has 
to officiate at a long churcli service, he is utterly exhausted. It is 
high time he returned to France, as he hopes to do, at the end of 
this cruise. 

His title puzzled us much when he arrived in Fiji, as we sup- 
posed him to be Bishop of Samoa. But it seems that a Roman 
Catholic bishop cannot bear the title of a country supposed to be 
semi-heathen, so they adopt that of one of the ancient African 
churches, which are now virtually extinct. 

To-day, being Sunday, the bishop called together as many of the 


34 A lady's cruise. 

sailors as wished to attend, and held " a conference " — which meant 
that he sat on deck, and they sat or stood all round, quite at their 
ease, no officers being present, while he gave them a very nice win- 
ning little talk, ending with a few words of prayer. There was 
no regular service. There is always a tiny form of morning and 
evening prayer, said on parade by one of the youngest sailors, 
which is very nice theoretically, but is practically nil. At the 
word of command, Pri^re, a young lad, rapidly repeats the Ave 
Maria and Notre Phre qui etes aux cieux ; he gabbles it over at 
railroad speed in less than a minute ; then, as an amen, comes the 
next thing, Punitions, followed by a list of the various little tres- 
l^asses of the day, and the penalties awarded. 

At each point where the vessel has touched, she has taken or 
left some of the French priests, many of whom have been working 
in these isles for so many years, that they know every detail con- 
cerning them, and are consequently very pleasant companions. 
One of my especial friends is a dear old Pere Padel, a cheery 
Ih'eton, who has been working in the Wallis group for many years, 
with the happy result of seeing its savages converted to most 
devout Catholics. He is now going to Samoa. 

Much of the charm of this voyage is due to the kindly, pleasant 
relations existing between the captain and all his officers, from the 
least to the greatest — all are so perfectly at ease, while so thorough- 
ly respectful. They are all counting the hours for their return to 
la belle France, where several have left wife and family ; and their 
two years' absence apparently seems longer to them than the four 
years of our English ships would seem to be to less demonstrative 

Nothing astonishes me more than the freedom of religious dis- 
cussion on every side. Of course to the bishop and the numerous 
jjeres, personally, every one is most friendly and respectful, as well 
they may be ; but as a matter of individual faith, cest toute autre 

The evening tea-parties in the captain's cabin are particularly 
pleasant. Very often the conversation turns on some literary 
question, and then, from the ample library, are produced books 


from which j\I. le Commandaiit reads illustrations of prose or 
poetry. He is himself literary, and writes very well, in the 
' Eevue des deux Mondes ' and other papers. Monseigneur Elloi 
says that Captain Aube is a very distinguished man in the French 
navy, and one who is certain of rapid promotion. 

He has another guest on board, M. Pinart, a scientific traveller. 
He belongs to a French Protestant family, but is such a thorough 
cosmopolite, that when we go about together in the natiye villages, 
and the people ask our nationalities, I always answer for him 
" American." He is most industrious in his various lines of work, 
and is at present busy copying out vocabularies of all manner of 
dialects. He is greatly interested in all ethnological questions, 
and has a collection of skulls, enough to supply a resurrection 
army. I do not think the sailors like it very much, and they are 
always afraid that some trouble will arise with the natives of 
various isles on the vexed subject of les cranes, which our savant 
scents out from old hiding-places in caves and clefts of the moun- 
tains, with all the instinct of a schoolboy hunting for bird's nests. 
He has just shown me some beautiful illustrations in colours, for 
the book he is bringing out on American Indians ; also many 
good photographs, done by himself, of objects of interest in many 

I am so sorry that the Seignelay paid her visits to Fotuna (in 
the Southern New Hebrides), and to the "Wallis Isles, on the 
way to Fiji. If only these had been reserved for the return 
journey, I should have had the rare luck of seeing them also. 
My kind friends are for ever regretting this, and give me tantalis- 
ing descriptions of both isles and people. 

Apparently les isles Wallis, or Uvea, must be the true earthly 
paradise — so green, so fertile, with people so industrious, so con- 
tented, and so hospitable. It is a group of four or five high vol- 
canic isles, all richly wooded, and protected from the ocean, not 
only by the great barrier-reef, but by an intricate labyrinth of 
lesser belts and patches, which make navigation a matter of ex- 
treme danger, even after the difficult entrance, by a very narrow 
jiassage, has been accomplished. The approach to the anchorage 


is by a network of such dangerous channels, as involve masterly 
steering for even small craft, and make it a matter of wonder that 
large vessels should attempt it. Indeed a French steamer, L'Her- 
mite, was wrecked there not long ago, owing to one moment's 
hesitation ou the part of her commander, who, meeting a strong 
tide running out, shifted the helm at a critical moment, and so the 
vessel was swept on to the reef — a helpless plaything for the over- 
whelming surf. 

The Wallis Isles lie due north of Tonga, and are the head- 
quarters of the Eoman Catholic Bishop of Oceania, and a strong 
clerical staff; also of a French sisterhood, who devote themselves 
to teaching children whose lives have been spared by their own 
once cannibal parents, and who now worship with them, in a hand- 
some stone church, built by themselves, under the direction of the 
Fathers, and are in every respect pattern Catholics. 

Three days' sail from Wallis lies Fotuna, which is a little world 
by itself. It consists of a single peak, rising abruptly from the 
waters, and broken up into towering masses of crag and pinnacles, 
seamed by deep ravines, opening up into fertile valleys, richly 
cultivated. Sparkling streams afford an abundant water - supply 
for the irrigation of the taro beds ; bread - fruit, bananas, and 
palms grow luxuriantly : so it is an isle of great natural beauty, 
and though only fifteen miles in circumference, affords ample pro- 
vision for its 900 inhabitants. They seem to be a happy, healthy 
community, and have all adopted Christianity, either in its Protes- 
tant or Roman form. The representative of the latter is a fine old 
priest, who has devoted the greater part of his life to work on 
Fotuna, and year by year adds a few inches to the walls of a very 
large cathedral, Avhich he hopes some future generation wiU com- 
plete. The natives show their love for the good -padre by bring- 
ing him the heavy blocks of coral-rock, which he hews at his 
leisure; but they are well content to worship in less solid build- 
ings. The majority wear, as their badge, a little brass medal of 
the Virgin, or some other Christian amulet, which, in the case of 
the little children, is often their only raiment ! 

Apparently the adherents of the two great Christian bodies con- 


fcrive to live in peace, instead of finding in differing faitli a new 
occasion for enmities, as has been the case even in Polynesian isles. 
But is it not grievous that, when at length " the people who sa1> in 
darkness have seen a great light," it should not shine upon them in 
one undivided ray ? 

The people .of this lonely isle are especially interesting, because 
they, and the inhabitants of Aniwa — a much smaller isle in the same 
region — are of a totally diiferent race from those on the other isles 
composing the IvTew Hebrides — the latter being Papuans, and these 
Malays, whose ancestors drifted all the way from Tonga in a canoe. 
Though their colour has darkened, they retain the dialect and the 
hair of their race. 

Every one on board has treasures of some sort from Potuna — 
especially very beautifully painted native cloth. I think some 
of the patterns are almost more artistic than those of the Pijians. 
Like theirs, these are principally geometrical ; and in addition to 
the black and red dyes which are there used, the artists of Potuna 
introduce a good deal of yellow. The printing is done in the same 
manner, the raised pattern being carefully designed with strips of 
cocoa -rib or bamboo on wooden blocks, on which the colour is 
stamped. It is the same principle as that of our printing-types, 
and was known in Polynesia long before the art of printing was 
invented in Europe. 

The most remarkable productions of Potuna and some of its 
neighbouring isles are gigantic cocoa-nuts, more than double the 
ordinary size. They are immensely prized as drinking-cups. Many 
are 18 inches in circumference after the husk has been removed. 
The largest grow on the isle of ]S[iufau, which is described as being 
merely the rim of a great crater, from which smoke sometimes 
rises, and which is incrusted with sulphur. Apparently the 
warmth of the soil agrees Avith all vegetation; for the isle is ex- 
ceedingly fertile, and the cocoa-nuts are the wonder and envy of all 

I confess I should not care to live on one of these smoulder- 
ing volcanoes. There are a good many such, scattered about the 
Pacific — and occasionally one subsides altogether. Por instance, 

3"8 A lady's cruise. 

halfway between Tonga and Xew Zealand lies Sunday Isle. It is 
a volcanic rock-mass 1600 feet in height, and about four miles in 
diameter. It is exceedingly fertile, but steam rises from all the 
crevices of the rocks, and the people have only to scrape a hole in 
the ground, and therein place their food that it may be baked in 
nature's own oven. At one time there were a good many settlers 
in this warm corner, but in an evil day a Peruvian slave-ship 
touched here, and landed 200 poor creatures, captured in all parts 
of the Pacific. Typhoid fever had broken out among them; so 
they Avere thrown ashore to die, which they did, and most of the 
settlers shared their fate. The others left the island on the first 
opportunity, leaving only one white man with a Samoan wife and 
a dusky brood. These lived on in peace and plenty for about 
ten years, when suddenly the little fresh-water lake began to boil 
furiously, and from its midst a fountain of fire shot high in the air. 
Happily this mighty rocket served as a signal of distress, for a pass- 
ing vessel descried the fiery column and came to investigate, greatly 
to the relief of the Crusoe family, who were taken on board, and 
for ever abandoned their home. 

Evidently this isle must lie on the same volcanic chain as the 
"White Sulphur Isle, which is a sulphur volcano to the north of 
Xew Zealand, connected subterraneously with that great tract in 
the province of Auckland, where geysers, solfataras, and all manner 
of volcanic phenomena abound.^ 

All these are reproduced on a smaller scale on the island of 
Tanna in the ISTew Hebrides, within 30 miles of Fotuna. It is a 
circular island, about 40 miles in diameter. JSTear the harbour 
rises a volcanic mountain about 500 feet in height, densely wooded 
to the very summit, though seamed with fissures from which rise 
clouds of steam and sulphureous vapours. The whole island is 
exceedingly fertile — cocoa-palms, bread-fruit trees, bananas, sugar- 
cane, &c., grow luxuriantly, and the yams occasionally attain a 
weight of 50 lb. ; one root being from 40 to 50 inches long — a 
very neat thing in potatoes. Yet the soil which produces this 
rank vegetation forms so thin a crust over the vast furnace below, 
1 Vide 'At Home in Fiji' (C. F. Gordon Gumming), vol. ii. 


that in some places the penetrating heat is painful to the naked 
foot. !N'evertheless, the people have no fear of accidents ; on the 
contrary, Avherever they find a group of hot springs they build their 
huts, and, like the New Zealanders, they love to lounge on the 
steaming grass or hot stones. In every village a circular space is 
set apart as the marum, or place for holding council or feasting, 
and in these districts a "vvarm spot is selected, where, after sun- 
down, the men may combine the pleasures of a vapour-bath with 
the enjoyment of their bowl of liava, while discussing the affairs of 
the tribe 

The springs are in great favour as baths. They are of all tem- 
peratures — from the tepid water in which the natives play luxur- 
iously for hours, to the boiling springs in which they place their 
food and leave it to cook itself. Some of these natural boilers lie 
so close to the shore, that the fishers who haunt the reefs, armed 
with long four-pronged spears, have only to throw their prize into 
the rock-caldron the moment they have secured it. 'So fear of 
tainted fish for them ! Nor need they search far for drinking 
water. Probably the nearest spring is quite cold and excellent. 
Some of the springs are highly medicated, and many resort to the 
healing waters, some of Avhich are especially efficacious for the cure 
of ulcerous sores. 

Beyond the strangely fertile crust, covering the region of horror, 
lies an unveiled tract of cinders and black volcanic ash, forming 
a wide barren valley from Avhich rises the principal cone. This 
valley is intersected by a multitude of fissures from which issue 
scalding sulphureous fumes. Here and there beds of the purest 
sulphur have been deposited, and trading vessels occasionally carry 
hence a cargo of this pale primrose-coloured mineral, to be turned 
to good domestic uses. Pools of boiling mud alternate with springs 
of cold Avater clear as crystal ; and in fissures lying but a few feet 
apart the same strange diversity exists. One sends forth a blast of 
scalding steam, while in the next a dripping spring yields its slow 
but continuous supply of ice-cold water, falling drop by drop. 

The cone, which is called Asoor by the Tannese, is about 300 
feet in height. It is a gradual ascent, but fatiguing, owing to tho 


uccumulation of fine black ash or sand, in wliicli the foot sinks at 
every step. Masses of scoria and vitreous lava, or obsidian, have 
been thrown up by the volcano, and lie scattered on every side. 

On reaching the summit, you find yourself on the brink of a 
crater half a mile in diameter, within which lie five secondary 
craters. These act as so many chimneys for the great furnace, 
which roars and bellows below, and which day and night, with 
deafening roar, unweariedly throws up its fiery blast at intervals of 
five, seven, or ten minutes, according as its action is more or less 
vehement. Some travellers have visited it repeatedly at intervals 
of several years, and their accounts of the intervals of eruption 
never vary beyond this slight difference. Huge masses of black 
rock or liquid fire are tossed in the air, to a height of 200 or 300 
feet, often falling back within the crater, or else hurled to the 
valley below. Clouds of white steam mingle with denser clouds of 
the finest dark-grey dust, which is carried by the wind to all parts 
of the island, coating every green leaf with a powder like fine 
steel-filings, which fills the eyes and nostrils of all breathing crea- 
tures in a most unpleasant manner. "When rain falls, it absorbs 
this dust, and becomes literally a mud-shower. 

From the position of the inner craters, it is obvious that even 
the most foolhardy scientific traveller could hardly venture to ap- 
proach them to peer into the mysterious workings of that mighty 
caldron. Yet a native legend records, that in one of the fierce 
battles between the tribes of Tanna, one party was gradually 
driven backward, till they retreated to the summit of the cone, and 
even there they still fought on, contesting foot by foot of the 
sandy ridges of the inner crater, where a multitude of these savage 
warriors perished, having fought to the death, unheeding the wrath 
of the fire-gods. 

But of the isles visited by the Seignelay, before I had the 
privilege of joining the party, there is none which I regret so much 
as Easter Island, or, as the inhabitants call it, Eapa iSTui, where 
they touched on the way from "Valparaiso, from which it is distant 
about 2500 miles, without any intermediate isle. I think it must 
be the loneliest spot in the Pacific, as there are apparently only two 


little isles anywhere within a radius of 1000 miles. It is a vol- 
canic island, about 11 miles long by 4 wide. It is covered with 
extinct craters, in some of which are deep pools of water. The 
highest point is about 1000 feet above the sea-level. The hills are 
covered with hybiscus and other scrub. It is inhabited by a 
race of very fair natives, like the Tahitians, and very elaborately 

But the isle owes its interest to its mysterious relics of a for- 
gotten race, who have utterly and completely died out, even from 
legendary lore ; while their handiwork abides, written on the rocks, 
which are so covered Avith carving as to resemble the studio 
of some giant sculptor. Colossal stone images lie half buried 
beneath the creeping grass and encroaching scrub. At intervals 
all round the coast there are cyclopean platforms, from 200 to 300 
feet in length, and about 30 feet high, all built of hawn stones 5 
or 6 feet long, anrl accurately fitted, without cement. And above 
these, on the lieadlands, are artiticially levelled platforms, paved 
with square blocks of black lava. On all these, stone pedestals 
remain, whereon were placed the great images, which, by some 
powerful force, have mostly been thrown to the ground and 

The average height of the figures is about 1 8 feet ; some of those 
lying prostrate are 27 feet long, and measure 8 feet across the 
breast. You can infer the size of some of the upright ones from 
the fact that, so near noon as 2 p.m., they cast sufficient shadow to 
cover a party of thirty persons. Some have been found which 
measure 37 feet. They are all hewn of a close-grained grey lava, 
which is only found at Otouli, a crater on the east side of the 
island. On a platform near this quarry several gigantic images 
stand in perfect preservation. One of these measures 20 feet from 
the shoulder to the crown of the head. 

They represent an unknown type. Very square face — short, 
thin upper lip, giving a somewhat scornful expression — broad nose 
and ears, with pendent lobes. All the faces look upward. The 
eyes are deeply sunken, and are supposed to have originally had 
eveballs of obsidian. 


All tlie principal images have the top of the head cut flat and 
crowned with a cylindrical mass of red lava, hewn perfectly round. 
Some of these crowns are 66 inches in diameter and 52 in height. 
The only place on the island where this red lava is found, is the 
crater of Terano Hau, which is fully eight miles from Otouli ; and 
how these ponderous crowns were conveyed to their position on the 
heads of the grey rock-kings, is one of the mysteries of the isle. 
About thirty of them still lie in the quarry where they were hewn, 
ready for the heads which they were never destined to adorn. 
Some of these are 30 feet in circumference. 

"Well may we marvel by what means those unknown sculptors 
transported their ponderous works of art from one distant point to 
another on this lonely volcanic isle. The statues are literally lying 
about in hundreds, and the very rocks on the sea-beach are carved 
into strange forms — tortoises or human faces. 

Besides these, all along the coast, there are cairns of small stones, 
and on the top of each pile are laid a few white pebbles. These 
have probably been burial-cairns. 

Unless the face of the island has undergone some wondrous 
change, those mysterious workmen cannot even have possessed 
wooden rollers to aid them in the toil of transport, for there are 
literally no trees — nothing but small scrub. "When Captain Cook 
discovered the isle, he only saw three or four little canoes, which 
were built of many small pieces of wood, sewed together with fibre, 
the largest piece being 6 feet long and 14 inches wide at one end, 
8 inches at the other; and this, he thought, was probably drift- 
wood. These canoes "were from 18 to 20 feet long, and could 
barely hold four people. He found that the most acceptable gift 
he could bestow on the people was cocoa-nut shells, to be used as 
cups, since the island produced no palms, and but few gourds. 
Their only drink is brackish water, obtained by digging wells on 
the stony beach, through which the salt water filters. 

"Wooden tablets, covered with hieroglyphics, have been found, 
which might perhaps reveal something of the old history of the 
race, but as yet no one has been able to decipher them. There 
are also stone slabs^ covered with geometric figures, curious birds, 


animals, and faces, painted in black, white, and red — doubtless 
these also are hieroglyphs. They are ranged inside the quaint 
stone houses, of which about a hundred remain, at one end of the 
isle ; and are built in lines, with the doors towards the sea. The 
inside measurement of these houses is about 40 feet by 13, and 
the walls are upwards of 5 feet thick ; they are built of flat stones 
laid in layers. At about 6 feet from the ground, the slabs are so 
laid as to overlap one another, till they gradually close ; and the 
small opening at the top is roofed with long thin slabs. 

Till a Eawlinson arises to read the hieroglyphs of Eapa ISTui, its 
mysteries must remain unsolved ; and the cold proud faces, with 
the sightless eyeballs, will continue to gaze heavenward, and the 
great stone images, whether gods or heroes, must lie in fallen 
grandeur in this their sea-girt shrine, with none to tell us what 
unknown race devoted the labour of their lives to sculpturing the 
rocks on this lonely isle. 

Unfortunately the Seignelay has no artist among her officers, so 
no one has any sketches which can give me any general idea of 
the isle, and though I have seen a few photographs of individual 
figures, I cannot from them obtain any impression of the whole 
effect. I confess I wish I had had the chance of doing a few 
panoramic and bird's-eye views of the whole scene. Though per- 
haps not artistic, I am quite convinced that by no other means can 
a traveller so fully enable friends at home to realise the scenes on 
which his own eyes have feasted. 

The only other corner of the earth, in which I can hear of any- 
thing akin to these mysterious rock-sculptures, is the far-distant 
volcanic isle of Java. If you sail almost halfway round the world, 
heading straight for the west, you come to that wonderful isle, 
with its terrible volcanoes and amazing wealth of vegetation. ISTo- 
where else are there so many distinct volcanoes in so small a space. 
Xo less than thirty-eight separate cones cluster round the great 
central range of mountains, from 5000 to 13,000 feet in height. 
Some are active fire-craters, and throw out molten lava ; others are 
water-craters, containing milk-white lakes or sulphureous geysers : 
in short, volcanic action is there in every form of sublime terror, 



and the Javanese aborigines erected temples to appease tlie fire- 
giants, and from the solid rocks sculptured prodigious statues in 
their honour. In one spot 400 ruined shrines have been dis- 
covered, with altars, and images — all apparently built to propitiate 
the fire-gods. 

It is very risky to draw inferences from mere descriptions of 
any sort of art, but so far as I can make out, these would appear 
to be the productions of the true aborigines, ere Hindu influence 
prevailed, leaving its mark in those marvellous Buddhist ruins at 
Jiorrobudua and Samarang, which we so unfortunately did not see, 
on our way from Singapore to Fiji. 

It is, of course, possible that the platforms and sculptures of 
Easter Isle may simply have been an extraordinary development 
of the marai — i.e., the tomb-temple, which was the accepted form 
of ecclesiastical building throughout the south-east Pacific. They 
varied considerably in form, some being great pyramids erected on 
a stone platform ; while on other isles (as, for instance, on Huahine, 
in the Society Isles) there are stone terraces, built irregularly, 
right up the face of the hill, with spaces left between them. On 
one of the principal platforms a row of tall monoliths stand up- 
right, just as did the images on the Easter Island terraces. On 
Huahine these are called " the stones of dividing," and are said to 
have been set up as memorials of the division of land among the 
various tribes, each stone representing the title-deeds of a clan. 
To this day each tribe recognises its own stone, and, beholding it, 
recollects its unwritten legend, — just as at the present day in Fiji 
a messenger who is charged with a dozen diff'erent errands, will 
carry in his hand a dozen small sticks or leaves, and in fancy 
makes each stick represent a message. From this imaginary note- 
book he will read ofi" each detail with unerring accuracJ^ 

"Whatever faint resemblance may suggest itself between the 
irregular terraces and monoliths of Huahine, and the equally 
irregular terraces and statues of Easter Isle, it is hardly conceiv- 
able that such vast energy could have been expended on a mere 
memorial of tribal divisions, especially where there was so little 
land to divide. Perhaps Easter Isle was a sort of lona — the Holy 


Isle of the old Druids, who there erected the 360 great monoliths, 
which the followers of St Columba sanctified by carving them 
into the form of crosses, hut which in later years were cast into 
the sea by order of a ruthless Protestant Synod, who declared 
them to be "monuments of idolatrie." 

The only traces of any forgotten race which I have had the good 
luck to see on the present cruise, have been the cyclopean tombs 
of the old kings of Tonga, and a huge trilithon, concerning which 
the present islanders know as little as we do of Stonehenge. 

"WTiile in Tonga I endeavoured to procure some stone adzes, but 
could only buy three very coarse ones without handles. They 
have long been in disuse there. M. Pinart, however, succeeded 
in getting some better si)ecimens, which were carefully stowed away 
by some of the old people in the recesses of their homes. 

What miraculous patience it must have required, first to make 
these stone implements, and then to work with them ! They 
were generally made from basaltic stones, which were dug out of 
the earth with strong sticks, and then roughly chipped into shape 
Avith a heavy flint. Perhaps after many hours of severe labour 
the stone would break in two, and the workman had to select 
another and begin again. This time he might progress swim- 
mingly, and spend perhaps whole days in carefully chipping, till 
the rough stone began to take shape. Then he would substitute 
a lighter flint, and work with still greater care, only chipping ofl" 
the first fragments, — and after all his labour, perhaps one sharp 
tap Avould prove fatal, and the carefully chiselled axe would split 
in two, revealing an unsuspected flaw in the centre. So the work 
must all be begun again, and the patient, persevering savage go on 
with his chipping till he succeeded in producing a perfect axe. 

Then came the slow process of smoothing it by such delicate 
strokes as only removed a fine white dust, and last of all came 
laborious polishing Avith rough coral and water and fine sand, till 
the axe at length became a serviceable tool, ready to be Ijoniid 
yfith. strongly plaited fibre to the bent Avooden handle. 

After this it had to be periodically ground l)y rulibing it on a 
very hard rock. "We saAV several rocks in Fiji sccired Avith deep 

46 A lady's cruise. 

grooves from having constantly been used for tliis purpose ; and 
of course they must exist in all countries in which stone celts 
have been in use, which, I suppose, means all corners of the round 
world, Britain included. I greatly doubt, however, whether the 
ancient Britons ever produced such artistic carved bowls and 
spears with their stone imj)lements as these Pacific Islanders have 

The men who worked with these tools needed wellnigh as much 
patience as those who manufactured them. Imagine a squad of 
men taking from fifteen to thirty days to fell a tree ! Saith the 
old proverb, " Little strokes fell great oaks," and these were little 
strokes indeed ! Of course a more rapid process was to make a 
slow fire all round the base of the tree, and so burn it down ; but 
the fire so often ran up the heart of the tree, destroying it alto- 
gether, that the slower process proved best in the long-run. How- 
ever, as a good-sized tree could thus be felled in three or four 
days, the rafters of houses were often thus prepared, and the 
branches burnt off. Once down, fire could be better used to 
divide the tree into useful lengths ; and if a canoe were required, 
a long narrow line of fire was allowed to burn the whole length, 
its progress being regulated by the slow dripping of water. Thus 
the work left for the stone axe was considerably lessened, though 
it would still have puzzled a British carpenter to work with such 

Tuesday, IStX 

We are enjoying the most perfect weather — a calm sea and a 
faint sweet breeze. The vessel glides on her way so smoothly 
that we scarcely perceive any motion, and all yesterday I was able 
to work up my sketch of the grotto, sitting in a delightful impro- 
vised studio on the tiny bridge {la passerelle). We are not mak- 
ing much way, as we are sailing to economise fuel ; but the days 
pass pleasantly, and there is alwaj's some ship-life going on, which 
to me has all the interest of novelty — either parade, or fire- 
stations, or fighting-stations, or cannon practice (mercifully done 
in dumb show !) 


"VVe are passing tlirougli a great slioal of jelly-fisli — I suppose I 
ought to say medusas — hlmj, transparent creatures of very varied 
form. Some are like mushrooms, some like great bells, with deli- 
cately marked patterns of pale green or pink, and long fringe of 
feelers. They are beautiful by day, and at night gleam like balls 
of white fire. Tliey are here in myriads, and are of all sizes, from 
a teacup to a cart-wheeL There are also a great number of flying- 
fish skimming on the surface of the glassy sea. 

I am told that we are now 6.30 miles from Levuka in a direct 
line ; but our detour in the Friendly Isles has made our voyage 
thence amount to about 1100 miles. 

We have just sighted Mount Matafae, the highest point in the 
isle Tutuila. It is a conical mountain 2300 feet high, and lies 
just above Pango-Pango,. the most perfect land-locked harbour in 
all the Samoan group, with water six or eight fathoms deep close 
in shore, and surrounded by luxuriantly wooded hills. At present 
we are steering straight for Leone, where the bishop has work 
awaiting him. The place had an evil name in old days, as that 
where M. de Langle, who accompanied La P^rouse on his expedi- 
tion in 1787, was barbarously murdered, with eleven men of his 
boat's crew, — hence the name of " Massacre Bay," and the char- 
acter of treacherous and bloodthirsty savages which for so many 
years clung to the people, tiU Messrs Williams and Barff arrived 
here in 1830 with their trained Tahitian teachers, and made 
friends with them. Then they learnt the native version of tha 
fray, and heard the invariable story of innocence suffering for 
guilt, — namely, that a poor feUow who had gone off to the ship to 
trade had been detected in some trifling act of pilfering, when he 
was immediately shot and carried ashore mortally wounded. Of 
course his friends determined to avenge his death, and so assembled 
on the beach, armed with stones and clubs, ready to attack the 
invaders the moment they attempted to land. They were only 
carrying out the example given to them, and combined revenge for 
evil done, with prevention of further assault. 

48 A lady's cruise. 

Panoo-Panqo Harbour, Tuesday Night. 

After all, Ave did come here, for the anchorage at Leone is simply 
an open roadstead, and is not safe in a strong southerly gale. Cap- 
tain Aube feared the wind might shift, so the vessel merely lay to, 
to, allow a young priest, Pere Vidal, to leap on board from his 
canoe, and then we ran right to this lovely spot, where we anchored 
at sunset. 

It is indeed a perfect harbour. AVe are Ij'ing close to the shore, 
in water twenty-one fathoms deep, clear as crystal, and calm as any 
inland lake. Steep, richly wooded hills rise round us on every 
side to a height of about 1000 feet, and you can discern no entrance 
from the sea. It seems like living in a vast cup. The hills all 
round are covered with bread-fruit trees, oranges, limes, pine-apples, 
bananas, and all the usual wealth of tropical greenery. 

This has been a calm, peaceful evening of soft moonlight. We 
sat on the passerelle while one of the officers, who is an excellent 
violinist, played one lovely romance after another, sometimes soar- 
ing to classical music. The others lay round him listening in rapt 
\ delight. 

The air is fragrant with the breath of many blossoms, and in- 
deed all the afternoon we have had delicious whiffs of true " spicy 
breezes," such as I remember vividly off Cape Comorin, but which 
I have not very often experienced at any distance from the land. 




In the Hoi'se of the Native Catechist, 
Leone, Wednesday, 10th. 

"We have had a long delightful day, and I am tolerably tired ; 
but before taking to my mat, I must give you some notion of what 
we have seen. All the early morning the ship was surrounded by 


canoes full of natives, offering clubs, native cloth, and baskets 
for sale. Some of the canoes had ornamental prows with carved 
birds, &c. 

After breakfast I went ashore with ]M. Pinart to see all we could 
of the village. We were invited to enter several houses, which are 
]nuch more open and less like homes than those in Tonga or Fiji. 
But the people are all in a ferment, for, as usual in poor Samoa, 
this is only a lull in the course of incessant tribal war, and the 
people of Pango-Pango belong to the Puletoa, who Avere severely 
beaten in a recent battle. They are, however, keen to return to the 
fray, and this morning all the warriors assembled in full conclave, 
holding a council of war. They arrived in large canoes (some of 
their canoes carry upwards of 200 people, but those we saw had not 
room for above 50). They are noble-looking men, the fairest race 
in Polynesia, and truly dignified in their bearing. Some wore 
crowns of green leaves, and many had blossoms of scarlet hybiscus 
coquettishly stuck in their hair, which is cut short, dyed with coral- 
lime, and frizzled and stiffened with a sort of bandoline made of the 
sticky juice of the bread-fruit tree, mixed with scented oil ; so that, 
instead of being straight and black, it stands round the head in a 
stiff halo of tawny yellow, like that of the Fijians and Tongans. 

Is it not strange that the same curious rage for converting black 
hair into gold should prevail on this side of the world, just as it 
has in London in various epochs of fashion's folly, as when the 
attendants of " The Virgin Queen " dyed their raven locks with 
a lee of wood-ashes, especially those of " ivy-tree bark," or a de- 
coction of the flowers of T>room, either of which was warranted to 
" cause the hair grow yellow " 1 Of the various alkaline Avashes in 
use at the present day, and the good champagne converted to a liair- 
Avash, I need not speak. Besides, these are mysteries Avhich I have 
not yet solved. 

Here there is no deception at all in the process. It is all carri(Ml 
on in open day, for the simple and cleanly purpose of exterminat- 
ing Avee beasties. The head, Avhether male or female, that has just 
l)i;(3n Avhitewashed, presents exactly the apjiearance of a barrister's 
Avig stuck on to a bronze statue. But such Avork is all done on un- 


50 A lady's cruise. 

dress days ; and of course to-day every one was got up in full suits 
of mats and foliage, with a good coating of fresh cocoa-nut oil, the 
effect of which, on a brown skin, is admirable. The Psalmist knew 
what it was, when he spoke of " oil to make him a cheerful counte- 
nance." The man who neglects it looks dull and lack-lustre ; whUe 
he who, having anointed his flaxen locks, has then given his face 
and shoulders a good polish, seems altogether radiant. 

y^ Of course we found our way to the House of Debate. The 
spokesmen were apparently eloquent orators, very fluent, making 
use of much gesticulation and very graceful action. Each carries a 
fly-flap, which is his badge of office, and consists of a long bunch 
of fine brown fibre, very like a horse's tail, sometimes plaited into 
a multitude of the finest braids, and all attached to a carved handle 
about a foot in length. Witli this, when not engaged in speechifying, 
he disperses tlie flies which presume to annoy his chief. But while 
talking, the fly-flap is thrown carelessly over the right shoulder. 
Dainty little flaps of the same sort are carried by many persons in 
preference to the fibre-fans in common use. I observe, however, 
that there are fewer fans here than in Fiji, where you are always 
offered one the moment you enter the poorest hut. 

I was struck by the rapt attention with which the audience 
favoured each successive speaker. Tlie bishop was present, accom- 
panied by the captain. They wished to remonstrate with the big 
chief on the subject of certain persecutions of Catholics, and also 
to urge him and his party to submission. They are but a handful 

• ' compared with the others, and the strife seems so hopeless, and has 
already cost so many good lives j but I fear the good bishop's 
efforts are all in vain. Like the Hebrew peacemaker, he " labours 
for peace ; but when he speaks unto them thereof, they make them 
ready to battle." And now, in every village and in every house, 
all the men are busy rubbing n.p their old guns, and preparing am- 
munition, making cartridges, and so forth. 

"VVe returned on board at noon ; and after luncheon, the bishop 
had to return in a ship's l)oat to Leone. He most kindly invited 
me to accompany him. We were a full boat-load — Pere Soret and 
Pere Vidal, two chiefs, two other natives, one officer, and twelve 


French sailors. The sea was very rough, and we shipped so ninch 
water that two men were told off to bale incessantly. Of course 
our things got very wet. On these occasions the bishop is seen in 
perfection ; he is so cheery and pleasant to every one, sailors and 
passengers, and makes the best of everything, though himself suffer- 
ing greatly. 

This sort of boating is very different from travelling on our lovely 
Fijian lagoons, within the shelter of the encircling reef. Here the 
huge breakers dash madly on the shore, where they spout like 
geysers through a thousand perforated rocks, and we had to remain 
fully half a mile from land to avoid their rush. Oh for the calm 
mirror-like sea-lakes over which we have glided for the last two 
years, till I, for one, had wellnigh forgotten what boating in rough 
water means ! To-day our ten stout rowers could with difficult}'' 
make any Avay, and our progress was slow. 

"VVe saw enough of the island (Tutuila) to agree in the general 
praise of its green loveliness. Its high volcanic hills are densely 
wooded, and look more tropical than those of Ovalau (Fiji). But 
our powers of appreciation were considerably damped by the in- 
vading spray, and we watched the rugged coast, chiefly with a 
view to knowing whether there was one spot where a boat could 
land in case of need ; but in the whole run of twelve miles, there 
was not a single place where it would have been possible. Even 
here, at this large native town, there is only a narrow break in the 
rocks, where landing is tolerably safe in fine weather. 

As we drew near we saw a large body of Samoan warriors exer- 
cising on the shore, and hear that the people have assembled from 
far and near to take measures for immediately crushing the rebels 
at Pango-Pango (our friends of this morning). The chiefs here 
belong to the Faipule faction. 

The good Fathers invited me to tea at their house, and then 
handed me over to the care of Dorothea, the excellent wife of their 
catechist, who had prepared the tidy inner room of her house for 
my reception. Here I am most cosily established. My hostess, 
with about twenty of her scholars, nice-looking girls, have hung up 
great screens of tnjipa to act as mosquito-nets ; and under these 

52 A lady's cruise. 

they are sleeping peacefully in the outer room. Of course I 
brought my own net and pillow, being too old a traveller ever to 
risk a night without them ; and my bed is a layer of fine mats, 
beautifully clean and temptingly cool. To these I must now 
betake me, so good-night. 

In the Teacher's House, Thursday Night. 

I started in the early morning for a long walk, taking as my 
guide a graceful half-caste girl with flowing black hair. She wore 
a fine mat round her waist, and a pretty patchwork pinafore, of 
the simple form generally adopted here — that is, a fathom of cloth, 
with a hole cut out of the centre to admit the head and neck. It 
is trimmed with some sort of fringe, either of fibre or grass. Occa- 
sionally two bright-coloured handkerchiefs, stitched together at the 
upper corners, supply the simple garment, which, however, is not 
an indigenous product of Samoa, but was the tiputa introduced by 
the early Tahitian teachers. It is practically the same as a Spanish 
ponclio. All the shore here is edged with black volcanic rock ; the 
lava seems to have formed huge bubbles as it cooled, and many 
of these have been water-worn till they are connected one with 
another by innumerable channels. So the waves rush tumultu- 
ously into these subterranean caves, and thence through hidden 
passages, till they reach openings like deep wells which lie at 
intervals along the shore, at some distance from the sea. Through 
these chimneys the rushing waters spout in great foam-fountains, 
and the effect produced is that of intermittent geysers, all along 
the coast. I think some of the jets must have been fully 100 
feet high — and how the great breakers do surge and roar ! !No 
peaceful silent shore here ! 

We passed a very large deserted European house, built by Mr 
Scott of the Presbyterian Mission. How so large a house came to 
be required, or why it was abandoned, are mysteries of which I 
liave heard no solution. 

I returned to breakfast with the Fathers, to whose house I go 
for all meals. Happily the kind forethought of Captain Aube has 


provided me with a j^rivate teapot and a good supply of tea and 
sugar, so that I can have a brew whenever I wish ; — a great com- 
fort, as the ecclesiastical hours are very irregular, the Fathers being 
in the habit of luxuriating on dry yam, drier biscuit, and cold 
water. The only attempt at cooking is that of a nice half-caste 
lad, who is the bishop's sole attendant, and combines the duties of 
chorister, acolyte, episcopal valet, and cook ; so his duties in the 
latter capacity have to wait on the former. 

It seems we have arrived here at a most critical moment. The 
majority of the chiefs of Tutuila have assembled here to hold 
council of war how most effectually to subdue the rebels. The 
majority are in favour of war. A few have not yet arrived. All 
to-day they have been sitting in parties all round the malce — that 
is, the village green. At intervals one of the " talking men " stood 
up, and, laying his fly-flapper on his bare shoulder, leant on a tall 
staff, and, without moving from the spot where he had been 
sitting, threw out an oration in short, detached, abrupt sentences. 
Having had his say he sat down, and each group apparently made 
its own comments quietly. There were long pauses between the 
speeches, which made the proceedings rather slow ; but we sat by 
turns with all the different parties {we, meaning myself, M. de 
Kerraoul, and M, Pinart, who had walked across the hills from 

After a while, the bishop was invited to speak — a great exertion, 
as the audience formed such a very wide circle. He took up his 
position beneath the shade of a bread-fruit tree in the centre, and 
though his voice was very weak, he was distinctly heard by all — 
and his speech seemed impressive. Of course he urged peace, and 
he has a good hope that at least the Eoman Catholic chiefs will 
allow themselves to be guided by him. But the meeting closed 
with a bad tendency to war, which was illustrated by various 
actions in the manner of bringing in the feast, the way in which 
women, wearing trains of tappa, were going about all day, carrying 
bowls of hava to the orators, and other symptoms evident to prac- 
tised eyes. Many of the men wore beautiful crowns of Pearly 
Nautilus sliell, wliich are also symptomatic of warlike intentions. 

54 A lady's cruise. 

The bishop's Avords, however, Avere not without effect. The 
council assembled again to-niglit, and is still sitting, and I hear 
that after much talk the chiefs have Avritten a letter to the chief 
of Pango-Pango, again inviting him to submit, and so avert war. 

Just now I mentioned the bowls of kava with which ministering 
damsels refreshed the thirsty speakers. Perhaps I should explain 
that it is the identical drink which I so fully described, in writing 
to you from Fiji, where it Avas knoAvn as yangona — namely, a dry 
root masticated, till there remains only a fine Avhite fibre, as free 
as possible from saliva. This is placed in a large wooden bowl, 
and water is poured over it. It is then strained through a fine 
piece of hybiscus fibre till all the particles of root have been 
removed, when there remains only a turbid yelloAV fluid, tasting 
like ginger and soap-suds, which is gently stimulating, like weak 
sal-volatile, and has the advantage of rarely resulting in intoxica- 
tion, Avhich, in any case, is a A^ery different affair from that pro- 
duced by drinking spirits. A man must drink a good deal of this 
nasty Tcava before he can get drunk ; and Avhen he does, his head 
remains quite clear, — he merely loses the use of his limbs, and has 
to appeal to the compassionate bystanders to lift him to a place of 
safety. If his companions were white men, they might obligingly 
empty his pockets while he looked on helplessly ; but South Sea 
Islanders would scorn to take so base an advantage of a man in his 
cups. On the contrary, they Avill obligingly bring him some moun- 
tain bananas, nicely roasted in their skins, Avhich are considered 
a corrective, and Avill then leaA'e him to sleep himself sober. 

Different groups have trifling differences in their method of pre- 
paring this national beverage, and the ceremonies to be observed. 
In Fiji it is considered very incorrect for a Avoman to touch the 
boAvl, — chcAving, straining, and handing it round in cocoa-nut 
shells, should all bo done by young men, whose comrades sing 
Avild melodies during the manufacture, and keep up a peculiar 
measured hand-clapping Avhile the chiefs are drinking. Here, in 
Samoa, the girls are all Ilebes. They do the brcAving, and carry 
round the cups, but there are no songs {yangona-meke), and the 
only hand-clapping is done by the drinker himself as he hands 


back the cup. In Fiji, the correct thing is to send the empty cup 
skimming across the mat to the great central bowl. 

This afternoon a corps of sixty warriors favoured us with a very 
odd sort of drill dance. Their dress consisted of kilts of black 
calico, trimmed with cut-out white calico, to look like tcq^iya ; on 
their heads a turban of Turkey red ; their mouth and chin 
hideously blackened, which on these very fair people produces a 
monstrously ugly effect. They all had muskets, and were called 
soldiers ; but we thought their drill was more funny than warlike, 
and concluded that they would be quite as dangerous to their 
friends as their foes. They have a sort of American flag, invented 
by Colonel Steinberger. 

The dance was a very miserable travesty of a true native 7neke, 
such as we have so often seen in the isles further west ; but here 
the vulgarising influence of w^hite men is painfully evident, and 
one of the prominent figures at the chief's council was a high 
chiefess in a huge crinoline, a gorgeous red dress, and a hideously 
unbecoming hat. trimmed with scarlet and green ribbon and 
feathers : 

" Oh, wad some power the giftie g-ie us, 
To see oursels as ithers see us !" 

Could that proud woman but have knoAvn with Avhat different eyes 
we, the great strangers representing all Europe, looked on her fine 
foreign clothes, and on the pretty becoming attire of her hand- 
maidens, with their finely plaited and fringed mats, necklaces of 
scarlet berries on their clear olive skin, and bright blossoms in 
their hair ! 

Philosophers tell us there is always good in things evil ; and so 
far as outward appearance goes, the tendency to war is in favour 
of artistic beauty, as these people (like the Samoans and Tongans) 
connect the idea of good behaviour with pretty closely cropped 
heads ; but when the war-spirit revives they become defiant, and 
let their hair grow like a lion's mane, and adorn themselves with 
gay wreaths and garlands from the neck and waist. When a man 
has allowed his hair to grow long, he twists it up in a knot on the 

56 A lady's cruise. 

top of his head, but it Avould be considered gross disrespect to ap- 
pear thus in presence of a superior or at a religious service. He 
must tlion untie tlie string and let his hair fall on his shoulders. 
Kather odd, is it not, that they should have exactly the same idea 
on this subject as a Chinaman, Avho dares not venture to appear in 
presence of a superior with his pigtail twisted round his head 1 

To-day the great chief's half-caste secretary asked me most 
anxiously when " Arthur Gordon " was coming from Fiji, and 
whether it was really certain that he would endeavour to force 
the Samoans to reinstate King Malietoa. I ventured to answer 
for Sir Arthur having no such intention, which seemed to soothe 
the inquirer and all his anxious surroundings. You may remem- 
ber that we have twice had Samoan chiefs in Fiji. Once when 
they were brought as hostages on board the Barracouta, and once 
as a deputation to the British Government, to claim a protectorate 
from England. In each case, though the protectorate was refused, 
they were most kindly received by Sir Arthur Gordon, and 
amongst other attentions, were invited to dine at Government 
House. So several of those here assembled now recognised me as 
an old acquaintance, and are very friendly in consequence. 

It really is too sad to see those fine manly fellows, who, if they 
could but work in concert, might be such a powerful little com- 
munity, now all torn by internal conflicts and jealousies, continu- 
ally fanned by the unprincipled whites, who hope to reap their 
harvest in the troubles of their neighbours. I fear it would be 
difficult in a few words to explain the position of affairs, but I 
must give you a rough outline. 

The old original Tui Samoa — i.e., kings — were of the dynasty 
of Tupua. Some generations back the Tongans came and invaded 
Samoa, whose people resisted bravely, and finally expelled the foe. 
The "Wellington of that day was a brave chief, who was thence- 
forth known as Malietoa, the " Good AVarrior," a title which from 
that day has been borne by the chief ruler of the isles, even if not 
in the direct lineal descent. The chiefs of S avail, and of part of 
Upolu, with the lesser isles of Manono and Apolima, elected ]\Ialie- 
toa their king. The isles of Anna and Atua remained loyal to the 


Tupua family. They were, however, conquered by a successor of 
]\Ialietoa, who reigned as king of the whole group till 1840, since 
which period a ceaseless strife has been waged between the con- 
tending factions. These became aggravated in 1869 by a split in 
the Malietoa camp, when, on the death of the reigning chief, his 
two sons contested the succession. The chiefs of Savaii supported 
the claims of the elder brother, while those of the isle Monono 
elected the second, justly believing that the chiefs of Apia were 
becoming mere 'tools in the hands of the foreigners. 

This double civil war, fomented as usual by the whites, raged 
till 1872, when the United States assumed a sort of protectorate 
over the group, and in the following year a republic was declared, 
the supreme power being vested in the hands of a representative 
body of seven high chiefs. These were called the Taimua — i.e., 
the "Pioneers." 

I must tell you that the great nobles of Samoa are called Al'il, 
and the greatest care is taken to preserve their line in direct lineal 
descent from the ancient chiefs. It is not necessary that the title 
should descend from father to son, only that it should be bestowed 
on a member of the family, who can trace back his clear pedigree 
to the true source. Therefore, on the death of a high chief, the 
minor chiefs of the tribe elect the member of the principal family, 
whom they will henceforth acknowledge as their political head, 
reserving to themselves the power of deposing him should he 
prove unsatisfactory. 

These minor chiefs also hold their title as head of the family by 
election — a son being often passed over in favour of a cousin, and 
sometimes ev^n of one who is no blood relation, but is adopted for 
some political reason. These head men are the Faipule., who act 
as local magistrates in each village, the affairs of which they dis- 
cuss in solemn conclave. They have the name of being great 
orators, and much eloquence flows in these legislative assemblies. 
The great chiefs never speak in public, that office being deputed 
to their official spokesman. In a general way the Samoan isles 
have divided themselves into ten districts, each of which has its 
distinct fono or parliament, and no action is taken in any matter 

58 A LxVDy's cruise. 

till the members of one council have arrived at something very 
near a unanimous decision. Of course, in times of war like the 
present, these matters are very irregular. 

In January 1875, a new experiment was tried. Unheeding 
/ the wisdom which forbids having " two queens in Brentford," the 
Samoans resolved to have a king of each dynasty, who should 
reign jointly : so Pulepule of the ancient Tupua race ascended the 
throne in company with Malietoa Laupepa ; and the number of 
the Taimua was raised from seven to fourteen. How long this 
amicable arrangement might have continued, it is impossible to say; 
for on the 1st April 1875, a very serious phase of April fooling 
was enacted by an American adventurer, known as Colonel Stein- 
berger, who, by some means not clearly explained, obtained a 
passage to Apia in the United States man-of-war Tuscarora, and 
on landing stated that he had been sent from Washington to 
organise a new government. As his sole credentials, he presented 
the Samoans with four pieces of cannon and a Gatling gun, which, 
he said, were a gift from President Grant. 

Utterly ignoring all the foreign consuls, including the represen- 
tative of the States, he proceeded, under protection of the American 
man-of-war, to draw up a new constitution, declaring Malietoa sole 
king, and himself (Steinberger) prime minister, and, in fact, su- 
preme ruler. This matter being settled, the Tuscarora sailed, and 
Steinberger proceeded to arm the schooner Peerless (which he had 
purchased in San Francisco) with guns and ammunition, and 
sailed to Tutuila to put down the disturbances in that island. 
The American consul (Mr Poster) vainly remonstrated against the 
proceeding of this unlicensed vessel flying the American flag ; and 
taking advantage of the arrival of H.M.S. Barracouta, commanded 
by Captain Stevens, he seized the Peerless for breach of the neu- 
trality laws. 

Then followed a meeting of all the foreign residents, resolving 
to free themselves from the tyranny of this self -constituted dictator. 
Many of the Samoan chiefs joined Avith the foreigners in claiming 
British protection — the German consul, Godeffroy's representative, 
being the only one to stand aloof. The _ Barracouta arrived on the 


12th December; and ou the 7th February, Malietoa appealed to 
the United States consul to aid him in getting rid of his arrogant 
premier. Mr Foster forwarded this petition to the British consul 
and Captain Stevens, who, after an interview with the king and 
the Samoan representatives — the Taimua and the Faipide — agreed 
to arrest Steinberger, who, accordingly, was carried on board the 
Barracouta for safe keeping. 

His right hand, Jonas Coe, was however left at large, and by 
his advice the Steinberger faction proceeded that night to seize the 
king and carry him off to the isle of Savaii, where they forced him 
to sign a deed of abdication, vesting all power of government in the 
Taimua and Faipule. "Within a week Malietoa contrived to send 
a message to Captain Stevens, acquainting him with these circum- 
stances, and requesting his further aid. The Barracouta accordingly 
went to the rescue, and brought the king back to Apia, where he 
was landed with a salute of twenty-one guns, and a guard of marines 
was told off to protect him. The town was now full of armed 
mobs, who surrounded the British consulate in a threatening man- 
ner, so that Mr Williams, the consul, was obliged to swear in 
special constables for its protection. 

So matters went on till the 13th March, when the king, wishing 
to explain to his people his reasons for dismissing Steinberger, 
summoned all the chiefs to meet him at the neighbouring village 
of Mulinunu, which lies on a green peninsula beyond Apia. 
Malietoa was escorted by his principal chiefs, the consuls, and 
foreign residents, and Captain Stevens, with a guard of sailors and 
marines ; the latter Avith unloaded arms, which were piled on 
reaching the village. Then, in their rear, appeared a strong party 
of armed natives, cutting off their retreat, and evidently meditat- 
ing an attack. An officer, with a small party of marines, advanced 
to parley with these men, but were received with a volley of mus- 
ketry, which killed and wounded several. Then followed a sharp 
skirmish, in which the sailors fought at a great disadvantage — tlie 
enemy being 500 strong, and concealed by the dense thickets of 
bananas and sugar-cane. Eleven sailors and marines were killed 
and wounded, and the assailants lost about double tliat number. 

60 A. lady's cruise. 

Grave fears were entertained that the British and American con- 
sulates would be attacked; so they were put in a state of defence, 
which proved a sufficient precaution. Next day Mr Jonas Coe 
was tried by his consul and countrymen, and sentenced to be de- 
ported. So he enjoyed the privilege of joining his chief on board 
H.M.S. Earracouta, which soon afterwards sailed for ]S"ew Zealand, 
calling at Fiji on the way (on which occasion I made friends with 
^ the three Samoan chiefs whom Captain Stevens had brought away 
\ as hostages for the good behaviour of their party). 

Much oil having been poured on these troubled waters by the 
soothing intervention of both French and English missionaries, and 
especially by the personal influence of the bishop, a superficial 
peace was established, and Malietoa Laupepa once more reigned as 
king. How soon disturbances have broken out, we now see too 

After our evening meal at the Fathers' house, I took a turn in 
the moonlight with M. Pinart and M. de Kerraoul, hoping to see a 
Samoan dance, which was to come off" soon after sunset. But the 
council having again met, the dance was deferred till so late that 
I thought it better to come back here, where I found all the pretty 
little school-girls adorned with garlands, singing and acting very 
pretty quaint songs and dances, illustrating their geography, arith- 
metic, &c. Then about twenty grown-up women, who had come 
in from the village, sprang to their feet, and volunteered to show 
me some of the real old Samoan night dances — Po ulu faka Samoa. 

1 Tlie struggle lasted for some time. Finally, Jlalietoa again got the upper 
hand, and was acknowledged king by the foreign Powers, General Bartlett, U.S., 
being his prime minister. In August 1879, the Hon. Sir Arthur Hamilton Gor- 
don, Commissioner for the Western Pacific, arrived at Apia, and concluded a treaty 
•with the king and Government of Samoa, declaring perpetual peace and friendship 
between the people of their respective isles. The Samoans ceded to Britain the 
right to establish a naval station and coaling depot, as had previously been granted 
by treaty both to Germany and America. On the 8th November 1880 King Malie- 
toa died. He was barely forty years of age, and a man greatly loved by all his 
, own people. Probably but for the disturbing presence of the meddling whites, 
he might still be reigning over a happy and prosperous people. As it is, the coun- 
try is once more in a state of anarchy ; and the good bishop, whose heart yearned 
for the peace and prosperity of the people, has himself passed away to the world 
where all is peace. 


These were exceedingly ungraceful, and half theu' point seemed to 
consist in making hideous grimaces and contortions, and in reduc- 
cing wearing apparel to a minimum, consisting chiefly of green 
leaves. I think that on the slightest encouragement they woiald 
have dispensed with any. Each figure was more ungainly than its 
predecessor, and seemed likely to be prolonged indefinitely ; so, 
as it struck me that the entertainment would scarcely meet with 
the approbation of the good Fathers, should it occur to them for 
any reason to come over, I suggested that the children should give 
us a parting song, whereupon they sang " Malbrooke " and " Bon 
Soir " very prettily, though I daresay the French words they re- 
peated did not convey much more to their minds tlian do the 
Latin prayers. 

Then the party dispersed, and now the school-girls are all safely 
stowed away beneath their close tappa mosquito-curtains, like a 
regiment under tents, and I am in possession of the inner reeded 
room. It is a great boon to have such a haven of refuge from the 
nmltitude of gazing brown eyes. 

By the shouts from the vara I know that the council has broken 
up, and the real Samoan dance has now begun ; but from the 
specimen given to me by the ladies, I think it is just as well that 
I came away. — Xow, good-night. 



Leone, Isle Tutuila, 
Sept. '11, 1S77. 

At early dawn my pretty half-caste damsel took me to bathe in 
the river, but the shore was muddy and not very attractive. We 
returned in time for service in tlie little church, which is about to 

62 A lady's cruise. 

be replaced by a miich larger building, the foundations of which 
are already raised, and the great event of this afternoon has been 
laying its first stone. 

Immediately after breakfast at the Fathers' house, I started 
■with ]\r. Pinart and M. de Kerraoul for a long, most lovely walk 
along the coast, by a path winding among dark rocks and rich 
ferns, Avith great trees overhanging the sea, which breaks in real 
surf below them, washing their roots, which seem alive Avith 
myriads of crabs of all sizes, which also wander at large among 
the branches, like so many birds. Many of the lower boughs are 
actually fringed with shells and sea-weed, while the growth of 
parasitic ferns on the upper branches is wonderful to behold. The 
muddy shore of the river seemed literally moving, from the multi- 
tude of burrowing crabs, with one large pink claw ; and every now 
and again a great land-crab would peer at us from some fruit-laden 
branch, with its curious eyes projecting on movable stalks, which 
turn about at will. 

This is the first place in the Pacific where I have seen grand 
green waves break on the shore. Throughout the Fijian isles 
they spend their force on the barrier-reef, and only the gentlest 
ripple washes the coral sand. 

The rainfall here is greatly in excess of that in Fiji, consequently 
vegetation is richer, and the intensity of green more remarkable. 
So far as I can judge, the general foliage here is identical with 
that of the most fertile of " our " isles. The cocoa-nuts are much 

I am afraid to confess how hateful to me is the very thought of 
returning to long weary winters in Britain, with six dreary months 
of leafless undress. Da you realise that in all these isles there are 
only two or three deciduous trees, and that the majority put forth 
their wealth of young leaves almost faster than the old drop off? 
They are " busy trees " indeed, laden at once with bud and blossom, 
ripe and unripe fruit, and in many cases bearing several crops in a 
year. No wonder that these light-hearted people care so little to 
weary themselves with digging and delving, when the beautiful 
groves yield them fruit in abundance, and the mountains supply 


uncultivated crops of nourishing bananas and wild yams. For that 
matter, I suspect it is really quite as fatiguing to climb the steep 
mountains in search of wild vegetaljles as it would be to grow 
them in gardens — probably a good deal more so — for the beautiful 
mountain-plantain, which is the staple article of food, grows in all 
the most inaccessible valleys and clefts of the rock. As you look 
up the steep hill-side, so richly clothed with vegetation, the most 
prominent forms are these large handsome leaves, with their huge 
cluster of fruit growing upright from the centre, but to reach them 
you may have to climb a couple of thousand feet — and such climb- 
ing ! A man would need to be in very robust health who could 
face such a walk to fetch his family food. For my own part, I 
should prefer to sacrifice the romance, and plod steadily at my 

These mountain-plantains are the only branch of the family 
which carry their fruit upright in that proud fashion ; all other sorts 
hang drooping below the leaves, like gigantic bunches of yellow 
grapes ; and the native legend tells how, long ago, all the banana 
tribe held their fruit upright, but that in an evil hour they 
quarrelled with the mountain-plantain, and were defeated, — hence 
they have ever since hung their head in shame. 

In heathen days the Samoans seem to have been greatly averse 
to unnecessary work, and even the art of making cloth of the 
paper-mulberry fibre was one which their indolence long prevented, 
them from acquiring, though they greatly admired that which their 
Tahitian teachers made for them. K^ow, however, they appear 
fairly industrious, and the women particularly so — those of the 
highest rank priding themselves on being the most skilful weavers 
of fans, mats, and baskets, and in making the strongest fibre-cloth. 
The chief men also are willing to do their full share of whatever 
work is going on, whether house-building, fishing, working on the 
plantation, or preparing the oven and heating the stones to cook 
the family dinner. 

Now all the chief men wear very handsome cloth, thicker and 
more glossy than that made in Fiji, though less artistic in design. 
Fifty years ago the regular dress of all the men was merely a girdle 

G4 A lady's CliUISE. 

of leaves — a simple form of dress, but one wliicli was never dis- 
pensed with, as in many of the Papuan group ; indeed, one of the 
most humiliating punishments in heathen days was to compel a 
culi:)rit to walk naked through the village, or so to sit for hours in 
some public place. To this day a leafy girdle is considered essen- 
tial as a bathing-dress — the long dracaena leaves being those most 
in favour. They are so arranged as to overlap one another like the 
folds of a kilt ; and as they vary in colour, from brilliant gold to 
richest crimson or brightest green, the effect produced is as gay as 
any tartan. This is the favourite liku, or kilt, in Fiji even now. 

But on great occasions in olden days, as at the present time, the 
chiefs, and their wives and daughters, wore very fine mats of the 
most delicate cream colour. They are made two or three yards 
square, and are as soft and flexible as cloth. The best *are made 
from the leaves of the pandanus, scraped till there remains only a 
fibre thin as paper ; but the bark of the dwarf hybiscus also yields 
an excellent fibre for weaving mats. Their manufacture is a high 
art. It is exclusively women's work, but is one in which few 
excel, and is very tedious, — the labour of several months being 
expended on a mat which, when finished, may be worth about ten 

The strong j^aper ♦ like clotli commonly Avorn, is much less 
troublesome to manufacture. There are several plants from which 
a good cloth-making fibre is obtained. One of them is the mag- 
nificent giant arum, the leaves of which often measure from 5 to 6 
feet in length, l)y 4 in width. Its root is large in proportion — 
truly a potato for a giant. How you would delight in the cosy 
brown cottages whose thatched roofs just peep out from among 
such leaves as these. You do realise that you are in the tropics 
when you see gigantic caladium or quaint papawas, splendid 
bananas Avith leaves 6 or 8 feet long, and tufts of tall maize or 
sugar-cane 15 to 20 feet high, growing luxuriantly at every 

To-day we passed through several villages, and were everywhere 
greeted with the kindly salutation Ole Alofa [i.e., "Great Love "). 
We were invited to enter many houses ; and though our scanty 


vocabularies did not suffice for much conversation, a mutual in- 
spection was doubtless gratifying to both parties. The language 
of the Samoans is soft, and their voices musical. To express 
thanks, they say Faa-fetai. The familiar Vinaica / Vinaka ! [i.e., 
" Well done ! " in Fijian) is here rendered by Le-lei ! Le-lei / 
Good-night, is Toja — i.e., " May you sleep." The Samoan lan- 
guage is generally described as the Italian of the Pacific — it is so 
mellifluous. It is, however, a very difficult one for a foreigner 
to acquire thoroughly, as it has three distinct dialects — the lan- 
guage used in addressing a high chief, a middle-class gentleman, 
or a peasant, being altogether different ; and a further complica- 
tion arises from the politeness which leads the highest chief to 
speak of anything referring to himself in the dialect which de- 
scribes the lowest of the people. In Samoa, however, as in the 
other Polynesian group, one language is spoken on all the different 
isles, and there has at all times been free intercourse between them 
— a very different state of things from that which prevails in such 
groups as the Kew Hebrides, where each isle has a dialect — per- 
haps two or three — unknown to any of its neighbours, and where 
one tribe dares not set foot on the land of another. 

Samoa has always been in many respects superior to most of 
her neighbours. Not only was she free from the reproach of 
cannibalism, but also, in great measure, from that of infanticide, 
which prevailed to so frightful an extent in neighbouring groujDs. 
Here children were never destroyed after their birth, though it is 
supposed that fully two-thirds of those born in old days, died from 
mismanagement in nursing. The sick were invariably treated with 
kindness, and old age lovingly tended. Such horrors as the burial 
of the living, as practised in Fiji in heathen times, were never 
dreamt of in Samoa. 

In no land is old age more beautiful than here — partly because 
the tendency is to corpulence in place of leanness ; and the eyes 
retain their clear, piercing brightness, and the countenance a kindlj'' 
expression, which tells of the powerful good sense for Avhich many 
of these people have been so remarkable. Certainly they are a 
handsome and attractive race. 


G5 A lady's cruise. 

'We noticed in all these villages the same cliaracteristic in 
liouse-building which struck us at Pango-Pango — namely, that 
there is a good deal of roof supported on posts, but little of any- 
thing answering to a wall ; so the houses resemble huge oval mush- 
rooms, and home-life is of a very public description. There are, 
liowever, movable screens of plaited cocoa-palm, which arc put up 
so as to enclose the house at night, on the same principle as the 
paper walls or screens which compose the sides of a Japanese 
house, and which are generally removed in the daytime. The 
wooden screens invariably are so. 

At night the interior of a Samoan house resembles a small camp, 
as large curtains of heavy native cloth are slung from the roof and 
hang like tents, within which the sleepers lie on a pile of soft fine 
mats, their necks, not their heads, resting on a bamboo or wooden 
pillow raised on two legs. Furniture is conspicuous by its total 
absence. A few baskets for fish or vegetables hang about the 
walls, and a few bundles containing cloth and mats lie in the 
corners. Cookery is done out of doors in the native ovens, for 
^Samoans have no pottery of any sort ; so the picturesque cooking- 
pots of a Fijian kitchen are lacking. The very few cooking or 
water pots which are sometimes seen in a chief's house have in- 
variably been imported from Fiji, and are prized accordingly. 

The roof itself is one of the most precious possessions of tlie 
isles. Ponderous as it appears, it can be divided into four parts, 
and removed from one place to another, should the family have 
occasion to Hit. The great rafters are bound together by strong 
creeping-plants (vines or lianas) from the forest, and the ordinary 
thatching consists of sugar-cane leaves, strung on reeds, which are 
laid so as to overlap one another : sometimes a heavy cocoa-palm 
matting above all, secures the roof against a very high wind. 

Some of the Samoan homes revealed very pleasant cool-looking 
groups of comely lads and lasses lounging on their mats, making 
and smoking the invariable tiny cigarettes, consisting of a scrap of 
tobacco rolled up in a morsel of the dried banana-leaf fringe they 
wear round the waist. A few were whiling away the hot hours 
of the day by a game with small cocoa-nut shells : each player has 


five shells, Avith wliicli he tries to knock every one else's shell from 
a given spot, leaving his own in their place. They also play a 
game something like forfeits. They sit in a circle, in the centre of 
which they spin a cocoa-nut on its thin end ; and as it falls, the 
person towards whom the three black eyes point is considered to 
have lost. In the same way the}^ cast lots to decide who shall do 
some work or go an errand. In one village a party of lads had 
assembled on the village green to play totoga, or reed-throwing — a 
game very common in Fiji. The reeds, which are 5 or 6 feet in 
length, have oval wooden heads about 4 inches long, and the skill 
lies in making these skim along the grass to the furthest possible 

In a green shady glade we saw a party of young men, very 
lightly clad, practising spear-throwing, aiming at the soft stems of 
banana-trees, which I suppose represented the bodies of their foes. 
In the game they take sides, and one party tries to knock out the 
spears planted by the other. Sometimes they carry very short 
spears, and in throwing these, aim so as first to strike the ground, 
whence the shaft glides upwards towards the mark. I am told 
that a feat is sometimes performed which must involve marvellous 
coolness as well as dexterity. A man, armed only with a club, 
stands up as a target, and allows all the others to throw their 
spears at him. All these he catches with his club, and turns them 
aside in quick succession. It can scarcely be called a pleasant 
game, however. 

"VVe saw several distressing cases of elephantiasis, which is here 
called fe-fe, and, we are told, is common. It produces hideous 
malformations ; and the sufferers are pitiable objects, the arms and 
legs being hideously swollen. The natives attribute this disease to 
the action of the sun ; but some Europeans who have suffered from 
it declare that it is also produced by exposure to the night air, and 
])y excessive drinking of kava. Happily it is painless. Some of 
the Samoans suffer severely from ulcers ; and we heard of some 
cases of ophthalmia. 

Here and there, beneath the green shade of the plantains, close 
to the houses, we noticed hillocks of white sea-sand, surmounted 

68 A lady's CItUISE. 

by a low oblong cairn of wave-worn pebbles, with a layer of wliite 
stones on tlie top. These are the graves of the household, l^o 
Higlilander is more careful to have his own bones, or those of his 
kindred, laid beside the dust of his forefathers, than is the Samoan. 
To hiui the idea of a common cemetery is repulsive. His desire 
is to be laid in the tomb in the garden, on land belonging to 
his family. When a man of any consequence dies, the ends of a 
canoe are cut off, and it is used as a coffin. This, however, is an 
innovation. The true old custom was to wrap the body in mats only 
— fine soft mats — and to lay it in a shallow grave, with the head to 
the east and the feet towards the setting sun. The wooden pillow 
and cocoa - nut cup of the dead were buried with him. Then 
the grave was covered with white sand, and the cairn Avas raised, 
always about a foot higher at the head than at the feet. 

If the deceased was a chief of any note, bonfires were kindled 
at short intervals all round the grave, and the mourners sat near 
and fed the fires till dawn ; and this they did for ten consecutive 
nights. But in the case of commoners, it sufficed to keep up a 
blazing fire all night in the house, taking care tliat the intervening 
space was so cleared as to allow the warm light to rest on the 
grave. The household fireplace was, as it is still, merely a circular 
hollow in the middle of the house, lined with clay, only a few 
inches deep, and rarely exceeding a yard in diameter. As the 
house has no walls, there is no difficuity about smoke, but con- 
siderable danger of setting fire to the surrounding mats. Nowa- 
days, the fire in the house burns only for warmth, and for the 
convenience of lighting cigarettes ; but in heathen days a blazing 
fire was kindled every evening in honour of the gods, to Avhom the 
house-father commended the family and all their interests. 

!N'ear one of the villages we caught a glimpse of a dark olive- 
green snake, the first I have seen for many a day. They are not 
quite so rare here as in Fiji, but are equally innocent ; and the 
girls take them up without hesitation, and play with them, and 
even twine them round their necks. We also saw some wood- 
pigeons and a few paroquets, and lovely little honey-birds, with 
crimson-and-black plumage. 


As we crossed the river a frightened water-hen darted from 
among the bushes — swallows skimmed lightly through the air, 
and several exquisite blue-and -yellow kingfishers glanced in the 
sunlight, as they flashed in pursuit of bright-coloured insects. 

Flying foxes are very numerous, and, as they hang suspended 
from the boughs, head downwards, have the effect of some curious 
fruit. They are excellent to eat, as we discovered in Ceylon ; but 
most Europeans have a prejudice against them — I cannot see whj', 
as they feed on the best and ripest fruits. I quite understand the 
objection to the little insectivorous bats, which cluster in thousands 
among the rocks, clinging one to another, till they appear like 
brown ropes. The smell of these is simply disgusting. 

These are not the only night-birds of Samoa. I am told there 
are a good many owls. I did not, however, see any, neither was I 
so fortunate as to see the Samoan turtle-dove, with its exquisite 
plumage of peacock-green blending with crimson. Green paroquets 
abound, and a small scarlet-and-black bird. 

"When these isles were first discovered, an indigenous dog was 
foiind in the mountains — a small, dark -grey animal, with very little 
hair, short crooked legs, long back, and large erect ears. It fed on 
bread-fruit and yams, having no other animal on which to prey, 
with the exception of the little native rat. The natives very 
naturally considered both dog and rat as dainty dishes for high 
days. Happily they contented themselves with these, and held 
cannibalism in abhorrence. The wild dog was also found on 
Hawaii, Tahiti, and New Zealand. 

On some of the isles there was a native breed of pigs, lanky, 
long-legged creatures. Like the rats and dogs, they made a virtue 
of necessity, and were strict vegetarians. They were found in 
Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, and the New Hebrides. These are the 
only three quadrupeds that appear to have been indigenous on any 
of the Polynesian isles ; and now all three are extinct, having died 
out on the introduction of their foreign kindred, in obedience to 
that sad fate which appears to rule the destinies both of men and 

The people whose ideal quadruped was a pig, very naturally 

70 A lady's cruise. 

judged of all imported aTiimals by this standard : so a goat or a 
cow became known as a horned pig ; a horse, a man-carrying pig ; 
a cat, a mewing pig. When the first goat was landed on one of 
the Hervey Isles, where even pigs were unknown, the natives 
called one another to come and see " the wonderful bird with 
great teeth growing out of its head ! " 

The most interesting aboriginal inhabitant of Samoa is a little 
kind of dodo, or tooth-billed pigeon, here called Manu-mea.^ 
Though now rare, it is still to be found in the forests, generally 
hiding in the tops of the highest trees. The natives say that it 
used to frequent the ground, but that since the introduction of 
foreign cats and rats, which have proved its deadly foes, it has 
instinctively retreated to safer quarters. Its diminished numbers 
may probably, however, be attributed to the high value set on it 
by the Samoan epicures. It is said to be closely allied to the 
extinct dodo. Its body resembles that of a pigeon, but its head 
and beak are those of a parrot. Its general plumage is dark -red, 
the head and breast being grey. Eyes, legs, and feet are all red, 
and the beak is reddish gold. When captured, it is generally very 
savage, and bites severely, but it is occasionally tamed, and feeds 
on fruit. 

Formerly the sporting world of Samoa found its chief pastime, 
not in pigeon-shooting, but in pigeon-catching, which sounds a 
very innocent amusement, but which was indulged in to such 
excess that the teachers found it necessary to discourage it, as it 
led to the schools being quite deserted, and all work at a stand- 
still, for months at a time — the faA^ourite season being from June 
till August. The Hurlingham of Samoa was a large circular clear- 
ing in the forest — (there were many such). Thither the whole 
population of a district would resort, having previously prepared 
great stores of provision. Grandfathers and little children, but 
especially young men and maidens, delighted in the dove-festival, 
dear to happy lovers. They erected temporary huts in the forest, 
and there took up their abode for a prolonged picnic. Many an 
idyl of the forest might have been sung by the flower-wreathed 
1 Diduncidus strlgirostris. 


minstrels of Samoa; and the wide world could offer no lovelier 
scene than the exquisite tropical forests of these happy isles, where 
no hurtful creature lies hidden. Eut I fear that even here the 
idyls were not free from occasional touches of shadow ; though 
doubtless there were reflected lights, enough to relieve any transient 
shade, and lovers' quarrels were forgotten in new loves. 

All round the central clearing, hiding-places were constructed 
and covered with green boughs. In each of these a sportsman 
was concealed, holding in one hand a stick to which a tame pigeon 
was attached by a string some ten yards in length. These pigeons 
were all trained to fly round and round ; and the wild Avood-doves 
seeing so many of their fellows circling round one spot,* naturally 
supposed there was something good to be shared, and ventured 
near, when, from each ambush a long slim bamboo was thrust 
forth, with a net attached, and the stranger was forthwith captured. 
Of course, he who caught the largest niunber was the hero of the 
hour, and to him was presented the evening feast — at which baked 
pigeons figured largely. Some, however, were preserved alive, to 
be trained as decoy-birds, as this pigeon-taming was a favourite 
occupation at all seasons of the year, — indeed is so at the present 
time ; for the Samoan takes as much pride in his doves and 
pigeons, as a Briton does in his hounds and horses. The birds 
are trained in such habits of idleness that they will not even feed 
themselves, but sit patiently waiting till their master actually puts 
their daily bread — yam, banana, or cocoa-nut — into their open 

The Samoan dove and its wooing furnished the theme for one 
of the prettiest of the native dances. The girls, while gently 
gliding to and fro, utter the low soft call of the female dove, their 
mates answering from afar, in deeper resounding tones, and circling 
around, ever drawing nearer and nearer, till the wooers and the 
wooed unite in a ballet of much graceful fluttering. 

We got back to Leone just in time to see the ecclesiastical pro- 
cession start from the old church to the site of the new one. At 
the consecration service, the bishop wore his mitre and a very 
gorgeous vestment of patchwork, presented by the Samoan ladies. 


I grieve to have to record that in leading the procession round the 
foundations of the new church, he made tlie turn wlddershins} 
I believe that this is contrary to ecclesiastical custom — and of 
course to my Scottish mind it suggested grievous misfortunes in 

An immense crowd of people had assembled, and the influence 
of European bad taste was too apparent in several cases ; as for 
instance, in the uniform selected by a large college of young men, 
and provided by themselves — namely, white trousers, magenta 
blouse, and sky-blue waist- band ! The girls wore white calico 
suliis ^ and pale-green pinafores, which, with their hair dyed yellow, 
were becoming. But they looked a thousand times better when, 
at a school-festival held later, they exchanged the white skirts for 
very fine cream-coloured mats embroidered round the edge with 
scarlet wool, necklaces of large scarlet berries and green leaves, and 
scarlet hybiscus and green leaves in their hair. They went through 
some very pretty school exercises, illustrated by much graceful 

Then some very fine women came up, wearing handsome new 
mats of hybiscus fibre, which, when newly prepared, is pure white, 
and after a while becomes creamy in hue. They presented us all 
with very pretty fans of woven grass. 

Then came a presentation of much food, including about thirty 
pigs, which were, ere long, devoured by the assembled multitude. 

The bishop was terribly exhausted by all this prolonged exertion 
and much talking ; but as an instance of his never-failing kindness 
to everybody, I may tell you, that when the school-feast Avas over, 
I came to this, my special nest, remarking to some one that I was 

1 Or more correctly, in old Celtic parlance, tua2:ihol—i\\at is to say, a turn con- 
trary to the course of the sun, keeping the left hand towards the centre. It was 
only used when invoking a curse, as opposed to the turn deisul, which invoked a 
blessing on the object round which the turu was made. The superstition is com- 
mon to all lands in whose early mythology sun-worship held a place. See ' From 
the Hebrides to the Himalayas,' vol. i. p. 203. 

2 The sulu of the Friendly and Fijian Isles, the 2^i<'T<^o of Tahiti, the sarong of 
the Malays, or the comhoy of the Singalese, is simply a fathom of cloth wrapped 
round the lower limbs, and reaching to the knee or the ankle, according to the 
width of the material. 


fatiguee, forgetting that the "word may be interpreted as " not 
welL" So when the kind bishop came home to his much needed 
rest, he heard this, and, tired as he was, at once came to this house, 
which is at some distance, bringing a great roll of native cloth to 
soften my mat couch, and chocolate and other little delicacies, 
which he thought I might fancy. I was so sorry, — but it illus- 
trates the beautiful unselfishness of that genial nature. 

To-morrow we are to leave this lovely isle Tutuila and cross to 
the great isle of Upolu, on which is situated Apia, the capital. 

This group, Avhicli in our schoolroom days we were taught to 
call the I^avigators Isles, but which its inhabitants know as Samoa, 
consists of eight principal isles and several small islets. By far 
the largest are Savaii and Upolu — the former being 250 miles in 
circumference, the latter 200. Both are very beautiful, having 
high mountain-ranges, visible at a distance of 70 miles, and richly 
wooded. They are separated by a strait about 12 miles wide, the 
mouth of which is, as it were, guarded by two small islands, 
Manono and Aborima. 

The former lies close to Upolu, and one reef encircles both. It 
is the home of some of the high chiefs, and is an exceedingly fertile 
little island, clothed with the richest verdure. It is about five 
miles in circumference. 

Aborima, as seen from the sea, appears to be only a huge precipi- 
tous mass of rock, rising to a height of 200 or 300 feet. It is about 
two miles in circumference, and is probably the crater of an extinct 
volcano, for it is shaped like the hollow of a hand, whence it 
derives its name. It is inaccessible, except at one small opening 
between the steep cliffs ; but passing between these you enter an 
amphitheatre, which, from the base to the summit, presents an 
unbroken mass of tropical vegetation — a most marvellous transfor- 
mation scene from the desolate crags of the seaboard. A charming 
little village nestles beneath the fruit-bearing trees in the basin. 

This natural stronghold belongs to the chiefs of Manono, who 
use it in time of war as a safe refuge for their families and store- 
house for their property. All they need do, is to guard the narrow 
entrance, which tliey can either defend by dropping rocks on the 


invaders, or by so placing ropes across it tliat they can overturn 
their canoes. So, ahhough the warlike men of Manono have occa- 
sionally been driven from their own isle, they liave always found 
a secure retreat in this lovely rock-girt fortress, where they take 
good care always to have abundant stores of food ready for emer- 
gencies. That they need such a place of refuge, you may infer 
from the fact that when they were first visited by white men, 
about fifty years ago, a basket was suspended from the ridge-pole 
of a sort of war- tern pie, and in it were preserved 197 stones, which 
were the record of the number of battles which, the men of 
Manono had fought up to that date ! 

I do not know how many of these isles we are to visit. The 
more the better, since all are beautifuL But whenever I admire 
anything, the invariable reply is, " You like this 1 Ah, wait till 
you see Tahiti ! " Evidently it is the ideal isle. "No one will 
believe that I am not going on. Indeed I am beginning scarcely 
to believe it myself. AYell, we'll see Avhen we reach Apia. 



British Consulate, 
Af'Ia, Isle Upolu, Monday, 2ith. 

"VVe arrived here yesterday morning, and I confess that, having 
heard so much of the beauty of this place, I am rather disappoint- 
ed. It is not to be compared with Levuka ^ from a picturesque 
point of view. A very long village, scattered round a horse-shoe 
bay, with cocoa palms ad libitum, and background of rather shape- 
less rich green wooded hills, part of which are under cultivation. 

^ Capital of Fiji. 


Certainly the hills do gradually ascend to a height of fully 4000 
feet, so they are not to be despised ; but our eyes are satiated with 
the beauty of volcanic peaks and crags, rising from an ocean of 
foliage wellnigh as rich as this. Doubtless if we have time to 
explore the interior, we shall find no lack of loveliness ; indeed 
even from the harbour we could distinguish one grand Avaterfall, 
like a line of flashing quicksilver on the dark-green mountain. 
But to reach it, would involve a long day of hard walking, such 
as I could not attempt, even were the sun less powerful than it is 
to-day. This town, which is the capital of 8amoa, consists of 
about two hundred houses and stores — German, English, and 
American consulates, a Koman Catholic college and cathedral, a 
(Congregational chapel, and two newspaper offices, representing the 
stormy politics of the isles— namely the ' Samoan Times ' and the 
' South Sea Gazette.' 

The strong point of Apia is the excellence of its harbour — a 
point which the German traders have made good use of, in secur- 
ing their own right to a large part of it. 

As soon as we anchored, M. Pinart escorted me, first to call on 
Dr and Mrs G. A. Turner of the London Medical Mission, and 
then to H.B.M. Consulate, which was my destination — the wife of 
the consul, Mrs Liardet, and her mother, Mrs Bell, having been. 
our friends in Fiji, before they were sent to this place. We found 
that Mr L. had just sailed for Fiji to consult Sir Arthur Gordon 
on the best course to follow in the present critical state of affairs, 
when every man's hand is seemingly against his neighbour, and 
each trying to induce the natives to espouse his individual quarrels 
as well as their own. So the whole community are at loggerheads. 
The whites are mostly riff-raff of a very low order ; and in short, 
the Samoa of to-day is simply a reproduction of Avhat Fiji was 
before annexation. Many of the scamps who are now working its 
strings are the identical men who, finding Fiji no longer a happy 
land of misrule, have just moved on to the next group, there to 
repeat the intrigues of their previous life. 

As I have explained to you, the Samoans are divided into two 
great factions, lu-twixt whom there is war to the death; and, un- 


fortunately, tliis ill feeling is kept up by the utterly unprincipled 
whites — German, English, and American — who have their own 
interests to serve, and are quite unscrupulous as to the means they 
employ. So, thanks to their machinations, there was a sharp 
skirmish about three months ago actually in the town, close to 
this house, and to the convent, where the. French Sisters have a 
large and excellent school for girls. There appears no doubt that 
it began by a treacherous onset unawares, instigated by a scound- 
relly American. The fight lasted all night, just behind this house. 
Sixty men of the Puletoa faction were slain, and their heads were 
cut off and sent to friendly chiefs as delicate offerings. 

You can imagine the horror of that night to the ladies here, 
hearing the noise of battle, the firing of muskets, and the shouts 
of the warriors, but unable to distinguish through the darkness 
what was going on. In the first glimmer of dawn they looked 
out, and saw a great crowd of poor terrified refugees of the Puletoa 
party crouching round the flag-staff here (at the consulate), claim- 
ing British protection. The Union-jack that was run up that 
morning has never since been lowered day or night, as the con- 
querors have as yet given no definite promise to spare the lives of 
the vanquished. Others, who had hidden in the scrub, have since 
crept in, under cover of night ; and from that day to the present, 
the fifty men (great chiefs and their followers), besides wives and 
children, are living within the very confined grounds of the 

The men never dare to venture outside these bounds, knowing 
that for long the place was surrounded by guards of the enemy, 
watching to shoot any of the refugees who might venture to step 
over the enclosure, which at the time of the fight was only parti- 
ally fenced in. The women and children are, however, allowed to 
go out and forage. The principal chiefs sleep in the dining-room 
and passages, and wherever they can find room to lie down ; and 
when I come to my room at night, I have to pick my way in and 
out among the sleepers. But the majority of the followers have 
built a large native house in the garden, where they sleep ; and as 
th.ey dare not go out even to bathe, they have dug a deep well for 


their own use; and Mrs Liardet has given them her tin-lined 
piano-case, which they have converted into a very good comfort- 
able bath. They have sunk it near the well, and fenced it round, 
so it answers capitally, and has the merit of being quite a novel 
use for a piano-case ! 

All their arrangements are very tidy ; and they are a fine, digni- 
fied lot — especially the chiefs ; and all are so very^nice and respect- 
ful, that their presence in and about the house is not half such an 
inconvenience as you might imagine. Indeed Mrs Liardet and 
jMrs Bell have grown quite fond of them ; and they in their turn 
delight to play with Mrs L.'s baby, who is a bright little laughing 
pet. Indeed they act as a splendid guard, and are always quiet 
and well-behaved. But some of the poor fellows have terrible 
coughs, which keep themselves and us awake half the night ; and 
being awake, they do talk a good deal, which diminishes the chance 
of our falling asleep again. 

They are a handsome race, pleasant to the eye, and happily do 
not, like so many of the Tongan chiefs, affect foreign dress. They 
either wear fine mats, or else very thick handsome native cloth of 
bread-fruit or paper-mulberry fibre. Very few wear any covering 
on the shoulders, so the fine bronzed figures are seen to full ad- 
vantage ; and as I look down from this verandah I see on every 
side of 'ine such groups as an artist would love to paint. Pictur- 
esque men, women, and children, bright sunlight and gay blossoms, 
rich foliage, and palm-leaves flashing like quicksilver as they wave 
in the breeze, framing the blue waters of the harbour, where the 
foreign ships lie anchored. 

But all these poor people do look so sad, and no wonder ; for 
even if their lives are saved, all their property is lost, and many of 
these were the wealthy nobles of the land. Some people here say 
that they might now safely return to their usual life ; but others, 
equally old inhabitants, and equally well informed, say they are in 
as great danger as ever. It seems just touch-and-go whether a few 
days will see the renewal of a very bloody war, or whether all will 
agree to an unconditional cession to England. There is a strong 
impression that if Sir Arthur Gordon were to arrive here now, the 

78 A lady's cruise. 

latter would be certain ; and that it is the only possible panacea 
for poor Samoa's wounds. 

Within a stonu's-throw of this house lie the grounds of the 
French convent, where four nice ladylike French Sisters, and two 
Samoan Sisters, devote themselves to the care of about sixty native 
girls — briglit, pleasantdooking lassies. The native Sisters appear 
to be thoughtful and devout women. There is an atmosphere of 
peace and calm within the convent grounds strangely in contrast 
with all the disquiet which prevails outside. Life here is quite 
Dr Watts's ideal — 

" In books, and work, and healthful play, 
Let my first years be passed." 

I can answer for the joyousness of the merry games that were 
played beneath the cool green shade of banaiia and bread-fruit 
trees, and also for the excellent work done in graver moments. 
Very pleasant, too, are the sweet young voices, trained in their 
singing by one of the Sisters, who is herself an admirable musi- 
cian and a good vocalist. Tliey were all greatly interested in 
hearing news of the Sisters at Tonga, which I was happily able to 
give them. Great is the delight of every one here at the return 
of the bishop, to whom all who desire peace seem to look with 

1)0 you remember my telling you, when the Samoan chiefs came 
to Fiji to consult Sir A. Gordon, that they brought with them two 
pretty, high-caste girls, Faioo and Umoo, with whom we made great 
friends 1 I found them both here, and they seemed overjoyed on re- 
cognising me. They are both girls of good (Samoan) character, and 
daughters of high chiefs. Their fathers, who are in the victorious 
government party, likewise recognised and cordially welcomed me. 

A considerable number of the bright merry girls at the good 
Sisters' school are half-castes — the children of Samoan mothers by 
French, English, or German fathers. Amongst these, two gentle, 
modest-looking lassies were pointed out to me as the daughters 
of the notorious " Bully " Hayes, of wliose piratical exi)loits I have 
heard many a highly seasoned yarn from the older residents in 


riji, where lie occasionally aj)peareJ, as he did in all the oti\er 
groups, as a very erratic comet, coming, and especially vanishing, 
■when least expected, each time in a diflerent ship, of ■which by 
some means he had contrived to get possession ; always engaged in 
successful trade with stolen goods ; ever bland and winning in 
manner, dressed like a gentleman, decidedly handsome, with long 
silky brown beard ; with a temper rarely ruffled, but with an iron 
will, for a more thoroughgoing scoundrel never sailed the seas. 
The friend who trusted to his courteous promises was his certain 
victim. If he was in the way, he was as likely as not to have his 
throat cut, or to be turned adrift on a desert isle. If owner of the 
vessel, he was probably landed to make arrangements for the sale of 
his cargo, while Bully Hayes was already on his way to some distant 
port to sell the said cargo for his own benefit, and then trade Avith 
the ship, till it became inconvenient to hold her, when she was de- 
liberately scuttled. 

It is about twenty years since this notorious pirate first made 
liis appearance in the Pacific, when for some reason he was landed 
on the Sandwich Isles, apparently against his wilL He was then 
accompanied by Mrs Hayes, the mother of these two girls, wlio 
now lives at Apia m respected solitude. For many years her lord 
has cheered his voyages with companions from all manner of isles, 
whom he has contrived to dispose of so soon as metal more attrac- 
tive presented itself. 

At last this inhuman miscreant has met his doom. Only a few 
days ago a vessel came into port bringing the news of his death. 
As he was entering his cabin he was knocked on the head with a 
marline-spike by his mate, who had suffered brutal ill-treatment 
at his hands, and so, determined on revenge. I doubt if even one 
Avoman was found to mourn him. It was a meet ending to such a 

A messenger has just run here in hot haste to tell me that a 
ship is in the act of sailing, and will take this letter. This morn- 
ing we asked in vain if there ■were any chance of a mail, and 
■were assured that there was none. I can barely catch this — so 


Same Evening, 

Truly those ■svliites of Samoa are aggravating Ishmaelites — all 
striving to outwit one another, without one thought for the com- 
mon weal. Ever since we anchored here we have been trying to 
learn whether any vessels were about to leave the harbour, and 
this very day we sent an express to the German consul, who re- 
plied that he believed it would be three weeks before a vessel 
sailed. But it seems that he represents GodefFroy's house, whereas 
this ship belongs to Hedeman & Rouget ; and all these firms are so 
jealous of one another, and so afraid of being asked to carry letters 
that their ships all try to sneak out of harbour without giving 
notice to the postal authorities. 

Dr Turner heard of this chance by the merest accident, through 
a grateful patient, and sent me word immediately, but being at the 
other end of a long beach, the information reached me just too late. 
Now weeks may elapse before there is another chance. 

Just now I mentioned the house of GodefFroy of Hamburg.^ 
This place is the headquarters of that great firm, which absorbs 
the principal trade of the Pacific. There is "neither speech nor 
language " where the name of this omnivorous firm is not heard. 
At Cochin-China in the north-west, Valparaiso in the soiith-east, 
and Samoa midway, they have established centres, from which 
their emissaries radiate in every direction, and their vast fleet of 
trading vessels are for ever on the alert to enlarge the field of their 
operations. They are the Graballs of this side of the world. 
Hearing of the profitable trade carried on here by Messrs Brander 
& Hort of Tahiti, they decided to follow in their footsteps, and 
ere long succeeded in eff'ectually supplanting them. 

This was partly effected by artfully fostering the intertribal 
disputes, which were ever smouldering among the Samoans, and 
then liberally supplying the combatants with arms and ammunition 
from their own arsenal at Li^ge (Belgium). For these useful im- 
ports they accepted payment in broad tracts of the most fertile 

1 Shortly after the above was written, the Pacific was electi'ified by the sudden 
collapse of this huge mercantile house, which failed for the modest sum of one 
million sterling. 


lands in Samoa, where they now own about 25,000 acres of the 
finest alluvial soil and. richest forest, all intersected by streams and 
rivers, acquired at a cost of about three shillings an acre ! On this 
land they are establishing large plantations, upwards of 4000 acres 
being devoted to cotton. To work these they employ about 1000 
"foreign labour," imported from the multitudinous groups with 
which their vessels trade. 

Here, at Apia, they own a first-class harbour, and have estab- 
lished a regular shipbuilding-yard, wherein to refit old vessels and 
build new ones. And in many a remote isle, in various parts 
of the Pacific, they have acquired lands and harbours, to secure 
central points of operation. In the Ellis group they have bought 
the isle of Nukufetau, on account of its excellent harbour; and 
(passing onwards towards their original establishment at Cochin) 
they have secured 3000 acres on the isle of Yap, in the Pelew 
group, to the west of the Caroline Isles. I believe there is not 
one group in the Central Pacific where they iiave not established 
trading relations. They are said to have agents resident on 
every isle where there is any possibility of gain, and where the 
natives will tolerate the presence of a white man. Naturally the 
majority of these are by no means men calculated to improve the 
people; in many cases they are taken from the rifF-rafi", who in 
past years have sought in the isles an asylum from civilised laws, 
and by long residence have acquired a thorough knowledge of the 
habits and language of the natives. These men receive no salary. 
They are simply provided with the materials to build a solid house, 
and a supply of whatever trade is likely to prove acceptable to the 
people as barter, and are expected to accumulate an equivalent in 
produce within a reasonable period. No awkward questions as to 
character are asked. The sine qua non is a knowledge of the 
language, a poAver of discreet sdence, and a capability of not 
quarrelling with the natives. To further the latter requirement, 
their employers stipulate that every agent of theirs shall have his 
own "establishment," no matter from what isle he may import 
his companion. But they resolutely refuse to sanction the legal 
marriage of any German subject with a native woman. 



Xor is this the only point in which this mighty anti-Cliristian 
firm opposes itself to all eflbrts for the inii)rovement of the j^eople. 
To all their Avidely scattered agents one clear direction is given: 
" Never assist missionaries either hy word or deed, but, whereso- 
ever you may find them, use your Lest influence with the natives 
to obstruct and exclude them." ^ 

It is interesting to find so plain an acknowledgment of the 
principles which animate so large a section of the mercantile com- 
munities in all quarters of the earth. In every case the opposition 
seems due to the same cause — a covert hatred to the teaching 
which discountenances immorality of all sorts, including that of 
exchanging bad goods at fictitious prices for useful products. It 
matters little whether blue beads and muskets, or opium (with a 
background of English artillery), be the goods to be disposed of, 
the principles involved, and the consequent antagonism to every 
agency for good, are necessarily the same. 

How well the agents and shipmasters carry out their instructions 
may be inferred from such an experience as that of the mission 
ship ]Morning Star, which, a few years ago, made her Avay to the 
Kingsmill group on the equator. A pilot came out to meet her, 
and made her anchor three miles from the village, desiring that no 
one should venture to land without permission from the king. 
The latter, on hearing that it was a missionary ship, recalled the 
counsels given to him by the captains of various trading vessels, 
who, he said, had all warned him that should a missionary ever 
come to the isles he must on no account be permitted to land, as 
he would shortly bewitch both king and people. So the wary 
monarch vowed that no such sorcerer should set foot in his realms ; 
and he accordingly sent a message to the strangers to say, that if 
they stood in need of anything he could give them, they should 
have it, but they must go right away, and never come back. 
Thus tlie unrighteous counsels prevailed, and the true friends were 
banished at the bidding of the selfish money-grubbers. 

It is unfortunately only too notorious that wherever, as in those 

1 Vide New Zealand Blue-Book, 1874 — evidence of Mr Sterndale, late employe 
cf Mr Godeffrov. 


northern isles, the natives have derived their fust impressions of 
civilisation from traders, they have invariably deteriorated, and 
the white influence has been exerted to exclude all improving 
influences. On the other hand, throughout Polynesia, the mis- 
sionaries were the first to occupy the field, where traders dared 
not venture, and in every case they so tamed the fierce savages 
that commerce naturally followed in their wake and under their 
protection. Yet even here no debt of gratitude is considered due 
to the successors of those early pioneers ; and the antagonism of 
the traders to the missionaries is unfortunately notorious. 

From what I have told you, you can gather that the transactions 
of the house of Godeffroy are carried out on a pretty extensive 
scale ; and as all European goods are sold at a clear profit of a 
hundred per cent, exclusive of all expenses, they contrive to heap 
up riches at a very rapid rate. One of their peculiarities is, that 
they never insure their ships. They pay their shipmasters very 
low salaries, rarely exceeding £5 a-month, but supplement this 
sum by allowing them a commission of three per cent on the net 
profits of each voyage. 

Another peculiarity, which is particularly annoying to the white'\ 
community (and this is a point on which I speak feelingly), is that 
of despatching their ships from Apia with sealed orders, which are 
not opened till the vessel reaches a certain latitude, so that no one 
on board knows her destination. Consequently, however great a boon 
the chance of a passage might be to any person detained in the 
isles, or how valuable an opportunity of sending letters, ship after 
ship leaves this harbour without giving a hint of her intentions. 

The house of Godeffroy has not been the only purchaser of vast 
tracts of land in these isles. The Polynesian Land Company 
(whose claims to enormous tracts in the Fijian isles were somewhat 
upset by annexation, and the consequent necessity of proving their 
titles to their broad acres) carried on very pretty land speculations 
in Samoa, where they profess to have legally acquired about 
.300,000 acres on the four largest and most fertile islands. Their 
leader is a Mr Stewart, one of two brothers who have struck out 
for themselves very remaikable careers in these seas. The other 


brother was a well-kno-wn character in Tahiti, who blow a brilliant 
bubble company, which for a while dazzled the world of the 
South Seas — till the bubble burst, and the blower died miserably. 

H.B.M. Consulate, Tuesday Night. 

Yesterday evening we were sitting in the verandah enjoying the 
coolness of the lovely evening, when we heard very pretty singing 
in a garden near. Some gentlemen who were calling took me to 
the spot, where a large party of Samoan girls were sitting on the 
grass beneath the palms and rosy oleanders. The singing and 
surroundings were all attractive. Indeed it is difficult to look on 
such a peaceful scene, and realise how very recently it was a hide- 
ous battle-field ; and sad indeed to think how few days may elapse 
ere the grass — to-day so green — may be stained with the blood of 
all these fine men. In Samoan warfare the aim of each warrior is 
to secure as many heads as possible. Hence the sixty ghastly 
heads which were carried from here to all parts of the group only 
three months ago. But before they are so scattered, it is custom- 
ary for the victors to pile them up in a hideous pyramid, surmount- 
ed by the head of the highest chief slain. An ugly feature in 
war here, is the practice of a large body of men landing at dead of 
night at some distance from an unguarded settlement, and stealing- 
stealthily in, to surprise the unsuspecting sleepers : then suddenly 
rushing into the houses, slice off every man a head, of grey-haired 
patriarch or slumbering infant boy, and dashing down to the shore, 
where their canoes have meanwhile arrived, push off ere the 
startled villagers are sufficiently awake to arm for defence or ven- 
geance. Only male heads are required. It would be considered 
cowardly to kill a woman. Nevertheless these are sometimes des- 
perately wounded in the struggle to defend their little ones from 
their ruthless assassins. 

In old days, after a battle, such of the headless bodies as were 
recognised received decent burial ; the others were left as carrion, 
a prey to the village dogs and pigs. The influence of Christianity 
now secures burial for all. Strange to say, it also secures a rigid 


observcance of the Sabbatli, on which day the belligerents, by com- , 
men consent, abstain from fighting, and allow teachers and mission- 
aries to pass freely in and out of their camps, holding religious 
services in which all join, each no doubt invoking the aid of the 
God of battles on his own behalf. I doubt whether many of 
the nations among whom Christianity has been long established, 
Avould pause in their battling from any deference to the day of 
rest. And though these raids and distributions of heads savour 
rather of Jewish than of Christian practices, I think the British 
Isles could have furnished pretty close parallels in the days of 
Border forays, when a foeman's head, stuck on a halbert, was 
reckoned no mean trophy ; or when one who was considered a 
traitor had fallen by the headsman's axe, and his head and quartered 
body were stuck on pikes — a ghastly spectacle for all men — while 
his entrails were thrown into the fire. So you need not decry the 
Christianity of these poor Samoans, because the old war-spirit still 
stirs in their veins. 

I have just had a visit from Mrs G. A. Turner, who most kindly 
called to ask whether I would like to accompany her husband to a 
lovely place, twelve miles from here, where he expects to have a 
large meeting of the people. It is very tempting, and being a 
three days' trip, would give me time for some sketches ; but there 
is so much that is interesting here, that I have reluctantly declined. 

After luncheon Mr Pritchard took me along the shore to Malin-M 
unu, the village on a peninsula, where the unfortunate skirmish 
occurred between the Samoans and the men of the Barracouta. It is 
now the seat of government, and here the Taimua and the Fai]}ide, 
who are the triumphant faction, reign. One of their English in- 
stigators occupies the house of Malietoa, the conquered king, and 
lives under the special protection of the men whom he has beguiled. 
It is a tidy village of thatched houses, smothered in bananas and 
tall sugar-cane. 

Wednesday Night. 

"We have been exploring all the near neighbourhood. Passing 
through the grounds of the Fathers' house (where the good bishop 

86 A lady's cruise. 

gave us welcome), we ascended a pretty steep liill to tlie Catholic 
college for young men — a large and very orderly establishment. 
It was a pretty walk, through woods and cultivated ground. 
Everything seems to grow here, and some plantations are worked 
on a large scale with imported foreign labour. Cotton, sugar-cane, 
maize, coffee, nutmegs, cinnamon, arrowroot, tapioca, millet, barley, 
and even rice, of a sort which does not require irrigation, and can 
be grown on high levels. Vegetables of all sorts thrive in the 
French gardens, telling of industry and care ; but somehow here, 
as in riji, European flowers do not repay the trouble expended on 
them, except for old association. Their place is taken by the 
datura, with its heavy-scented, white, trumpet-shaped blossoms, 
the gay pride of Barbadoes, various fragrant jessamines, and hybis- 
cus of all cidours. 

In all these volcanic soils, water, and water only, is needed to 
convert the thirsty dust into most fertile earth. Here, what with 
perennial springs and an excessive rainfall, tlie mountains have an 
abundant water-supply ; and in every ravine a clear sparkling 
stream is fed by countless rills and waterfalls, cool and delicious. 
Eut so dry and thirsty are the lower hills, that the generous 
streams, giving instead of receiving, are actually absorbed ere they 
reach the seaboard, and only a bed of dry stones marks the channel, 
by which in occasional floods the torrents rush into the ocean. 
Consequently all cultivation on the lower levels involves artificial 

The fish-supply here seems good. There are rock-fish in endless 
variety, — albicore, bonto, and a sort of salmon with white flesh, 
and a very delicate fish called the gar-fish, with a projecting lower 
jaw. "When this creature grows large and strong, it sometimes 
unintentionally proves a very dangerous neighbour, as when 
startled by the aj)proach of a canoe, it is very apt to spring on 
board with such force as seriously to injure any person whom it 
strikes witli its sword-like jaw. I believe that nude natives have 
actually been killed by those frightened creatures. The fishers 
here still practise the somewhat unfair method of stupefying fish 
by throwing into the water the bruised seeds of the hutu, or Bar- 


ringtonia tree. Turtle abound, botli the hawk's-bill, which yields 
the tortoise-shell of commerce, and the green. Prawns, shrimps, 
and eels are found in the rivers, while the coral-reefs yield all 
manner of shell-fish, lobsters, and crabs. I hear that oysters are 
to be had, but have not seen any. 

Speaking of the reef, the natives say that they can foretell a 
storm, hours before its approach, by noticing the echini ^ crawling 
into snug holes where they* may lie secure, undisturbed by the 
raging waters. " The sea roars and the echini listen," is the Sam- - 
oan proverb to describe prudence. 

I have just heard with great interest that the halolo (here called 
palolo) — those curious sea-worms, concerning whose annual visit to 
Fiji I wrote to you at the time — also honour the reef of Apia with 
a call, just in the same mysterious manner, rising to the surface of 
the sea for a couple of hours before sunrise on one given day, 
which the natives can always calculate beforehand, so as to be out 
by midnight, watching for the first glimmer of dawn, when, sure 
enough, countless myriads of black and green worms, thin as 
threads, and perhaps a yard long, come to the surface — an easy 
prey to the joyous crowd of men and girls, who scoop them up in 
]>askets, nets, gourds, anything they can get hold of, each trying 
who can collect the biggest share of the writhing, wriggling worms 
which, when baked in a banana-leaf, are esteemed a most delicious 
dainty, and do taste something like spinach and salt water, with a 
soujy^on of lobster. But the extraordinary thing about them is 
their only rising once a-year for two hours, and never mistaking 
their set time, then disappearing totally till the following year. 
In Samoa, I am told, the day falls in August. In Fiji a few come 
one morning in October, but their grand day is about 25th 

This afternoon Captain Aube kindly lent us his whale-boat to 
take us across the creek to IMatautu, which is the further end of 
the settlement. We went to make some small purchases at the 
various stores, chiefly to see them. One of these belongs to the 
celel;rated Stewart, whose partner ])eing an American, the firm has 

1 Sea-urchins. 

88 A lady's ckuise. 

the adv^antage of flying eitlier the Union-jack or the Stars and 
Stripes, as may best suit the tide of affairs. At present this house 
is divided against itself ; and a few days ago tlie agent of the 
American partner declared - the place to be the sole property of his 
superior, and having sealed everything with the consular seal, he 
ran up the Stars and Stripes. Being, however, obliged to go to 
Fiji on business, Stewart's agent has broken these precious seals, 
and in the name of his chief, has hoisted the ensign of Britain. 
This is a fair sample of the sort of puU-devil, pull-baker way in 
which business is conducted in this curious community. It leads 
to endless complications, as each party invariably appeals to his 
consul to visit his opponent with aU the terrors of the law. At the 
present moment Stewart's store is a centre of interest, because the 
American consul wishes forcibly to remove thence a certain Captain 
Wright, a citizen of the United States, who defies his authority, 
and whom we saw sitting peacefully in the store, under the shadow 
of the Union- jack. 

The coin chiefly in circulation here is the Chilian and Bolivian 
dollar, of very debased silver, commonly known in the Pacific as 
" iron-money." Its introduction was one of the sharp speculations 
of Messrs Godefi"roy, who obtained an enormous amount at a very 
cheap rate, and therewith commenced trade Avith the Samoans, who 
accept the doUar as the equivalent of 100 cents, or the half-dollar 
as 50 cents, whereas two half-dollars or one whole, are barely worth 
75 cents. So the profit on this little job was considerable — and if 
it has added one more straw to poor Samoa's burden of trouble, 
that is no concern of the traders. 

On our homeward way we called on a very friendly lady, who, 
with her daughters, was engaged in preparing an immense array of 
excellent pastry, for a great picnic " Fa-Samoa" ^ which is to be 
given to-morrow in honour of us, the visitors. Then we went on 
to the convent, to invite the good Sisters to join us, and bring aU 

^ Fa " in the manner of" — 

Vaka-Vili, ..... Fiji-wise. 

Faka-Tonga, ..... Tonga- wise. 

Fa-Samoa, ..... Samoa-wise. 


their girls. I am sure tliey Avill enjoy the chance of a French talk 
with their countrymen. 

It is quite impossible to get at the truth about anything here. 
Another German vessel went out of harbour this morning. Xo 
one knew she was going till she was actually under way. I can 
only hope that my letter may reach you some clay, by some route ! 
Meanwhile, good-night. 



British Consulate, 
Thursday Night, 27th September. 

I was roused at early dawn by a French sailor appearing at my 
open door. (All rooms in these countries open on to the verandah.) 
He brought despatches, which he begged I would immediately 
translate for the vice-consul. A most senseless row has taken place, 
and all the inhabitants are in as great a turmoil as wasps whose 
nest has been disturbed. 

It appears that the American consul, though personally mixed ^\ 
up in many questionable transactions here, has contrived effectually 
to bewilder the mind of the too sympathetic and kind captain of 
the Seignelay, with the story of his woes, and of the ill-treatment 
and insults to which he has been subjected. So last night he went 
on board to solicit armed assistance to enable him to capture sev- 
eral refractory American subjects, who refused to acknowledge his 

Without a thouglit of possible consequences, and acting on the 
kind impulse of giving the required help to an unfortunate official. 
Captain Aube agreed to lend Mr Griffin the necessary force. A 


considerable body of armed men were accordingly landed at 10 p.m., 
and were led by the U.S. consul to Stewart's store, whence Captain 
"Wright had just departed. Stewart's agents wrote a protest against 
such proceedings, then walked out of the house, locking it, and 
pocketing the key, leaving only a sick man inside. They affirmed 
that Wright was not in the house, but added that if a warrant 
were obtained from the British consulate, the U.S. consul might 
search to his heart's content. Ignoring all remonstrance, the search- 
party broke open the house, and sought in vain for the bird who 
had flown. 

IMeanwhile another boat-load had gone in the opposite direction 
to search for more delinquents, none of whom were captured. And 
a third party came to demand the surrender of the house next 
to this one, which the bishop claims as Church property, though 
Stewart's agent has thought fit there also to hoist the British flag. 
This demonstration also proved futile, as the said agent, Mr Hunt, 
presented a firm front, and refused to quit the premises. The 
whole thing has been a sort of Don Quixote and the windmills 
business, resulting in nothing but stirring up much bad blood. Of 
course immense excitement prevails in consequence of this insult 
offered to a house flying the Union-jack. (Poor Union-jack ! it is 
made to sanction some very shady doings in these far corners of 
the earth.) The Franco - Griffin party allege that the house is 
American property, and that the unjustifiable proceeding was that 
of breaking open the U.S. consular seals and hauling down the 
Stars and Stripes ! 

At the best, it is a low, contemptible row ; and I am dreadfully 
sorry (as are all the French officers) that their kind captain's 
Quixotic kindness should have drawn him into it. But it is more 
difficult to arrive at the truth here than in any other place I know 
of. It seems as if every one's chief occupation in life was to rake 
up stories, old and new, against his neighbour ; and these are swal- 
lowed and made much of, without any allowance for the fact that 
they are retailed by vicious foes. Some of the poison-mongers in 
this poor settlement were well-known characters in Fiji, and only 
left it when, after annexation, it became too warm for their com- 


fort. I have vainly tried to impress some of my friends with a 
due estimate of these men's antecedents, but to no purpose ; and I 
liear their words quoted as gospel. 

So great was the hubbub and perturbation from one end of " the 
beach " to the other, tliat our proposed picnic was very near being 
given up. However, wiser counsels prevailed, and angry feelings 
were smoothed over the more readily, as none of the principals 
were present. The party consisted of al^out a dozen ladies, and 
half as many French officers. Three of the sisters (Soeur Marie, 
Soeur St Hilaire, and ScEur Sept Martyrs) brought their little family 
of about sixty Samoan girls, who executed dances for our amuse- 
ment as we sat on the pleasant turf at the spot selected for luncheon 
— a grassy lawn embowered in golden alamanders and scarlet hyb- 
iscus, and other bright blossoms, which soon adorned the tawny 
heads of the scholars. The dances Avere monotonous and ungrace- 
ful, as usual here, degenerating into hideous grimaces. They have 
none of tlie attraction of the beautiful Fijian dances. 'Not have 
these damsels such pretty manners as the maidens in the Fijian 
schools. The little Doctor was considerably astonished (though 
he bore the shock philosophically) when a forward young woman 
danced up to him, and snatching off his hat, transferred it to her 
own well cocoa-nut-oiled head, while another patted his face with 
both hands, amid applausive laughter from her companions. But 
these were, happily, exceptional ; and many of the girls appeared 
gentle and modest, and several were very pretty, with lithe figures 
and splendid eyes. But they all have beautiful dark-brown eyes. 

A great feed, Fa-Samoa, was next spread on the grass, on layers 
of fresh green banana-leaves. There were roast sucking-pigs, and 
pigeons stewed in taro leaves, or else baked on hot stones in earth 
ovens ; cray-fish, and prawns, and divers kinds of fish ; pine-apples, 
bananas, and oranges ; salad of cocoa-palm, like most delicious 
celery; bread-fruit prepared in various ways — boiled, baked, and 
roast in wood-ashes ; wonderful native puddings, made of ripe 
plantains, iaro, bread-fruit, and other materials, each beat up fine, 
and baked separately, then all worked together with the creamy 
juice extracted from ripe cocoa-nut, which, when heated, turns to 

92 A lady's cruise. 

oil, and is so exceedingly rich that few people can eat much of it. 
However, it is really very good — at least some preparations are. 
The puddings are so very oily that each portion is tied up separately 
in a strip of silky young bananadeaf, heated over the fire to make 
it oil-proof. 

In addition to these Samoan dainties, every lady had sent a con- 
tribution of pastry, salad, or other good things ; and the excellent 
cltef of the Seignelay had done his part admirably, as usual. !Nor 
had that hospitable vessel neglected to send ample remembrance 
from the vineyards of France, though the correct drink in the 
South Seas is the inevitable cocoa-nut water, — and an excellent 
one it is, cool and refreshing, provided the nut has just been 
gathered. !No matter how burning the sun in which it hangs, it 
is always cool when newly severed from beneath the crown of shady 
leaves ; but after a while it becomes slightly warm and mawkish in 
taste, so a true connoisseur requires his nuts to be plucked at the 
last moment. Then some ingenious native splits the thick outer 
husk by striking it on a sharp upright stick, and tears it all off, 
except a small green stand like an inverted bowl, which supports 
the nut, so that you need not empty it till you feel inclined. Then 
he cuts off the top of the nut, which is lined with the thinnest 
coating of white jelly. This is the pulp just beginning to form, 
and in this ivory-lined cup you find about two pints of clear 
sweetish water. "When a row of nuts thus prepared are placed for 
every guest at such a banquet as this, they suggest a row of brown- 
ish-yellow ostrich-eggs, mounted in pale-green enamel ! 

An excellent dish, which I would introduce at home were it 
possible, consists of young taro leaves, stewed in the rich oily cream 
of cocoa-nut kernel, mixed with salt water, which is the only sub- 
stitute for salt. Hence cocoa-nut shells containing sea-water are 
placed beside each guest, that he may therein dip his food to give 
it a relish. To have done quite the correct thing, our roast suck- 
ing-pigs should have been carved with a piece of split bamboo; 
but I fear that in this matter we were guilty of innovation, though 
Ave quite decided that bits of green banana-leaf were the nicest pos- 
sible plates. 


We were happily not expected to partake of the national cakes, 
made of putrid bread-fruit. I told you how, in Fiji, vast stores 
of bananas are buried in pits, and there left for months to ferment, 
after which the pits are opened, and the pestilential odour that 
nearly poisons the unaccustomed nose, announces a great feast of 
mandrai — i.e., bread. In Samoa, bananas abound all the year 
round, so there is no need to store them. But bread-fruit is only 
in season for about six months, so the surplus crop is stored in pits 
lined with bananadeaves ; of course it soon ferments, but in that 
condition is preserved, perhaps, for years, as the older it is, the 
more highly it is prized. You can perhaps imagine how fearful is 
the smell of this dainty. But it is all a matter of taste — the ripe 
Stilton cheese, dear to the fine old English gentleman, is, to a 
Samoan, infinitely more revolting than his unfragrant cakes are 
to us. 

Our surroundings were beautiful. Far below us lay the blue 
Pacific with its white breakers and many tinted coral-reefs, and on 
every side the spurs and ravines of great green hills, all densely 
clothed with richest tropical vegetation, — huge eevie trees, with roots 
like coils of twisted snakes, and branches all bearded with long grey 
lichen, falling in streamers and entangled by tlie twining vines ; 
whde all manner of parasitic plants, orchids, and bird's-nest ferns, 
nestle in every crevice. We had come by a lovely path through 
groves of bread-fruit and bananas, oranges, and other flowering 
trees, with here and there patches of cultivation — tall sugar-canes 
and maize — then tree-ferns, matted with purple convolvulus, and 
with an undergrowth of soft green grass. The gleaming sunlight 
found its way through that leafy canopy, and its dancing rays 
checkered the cool dark shadows with flecks of golden green. It 
was all soft, and lovely, and peaceful. 

Ere the fragments of the feast, and the coffee-pots, and the 
crockery, were repacked, the brief tropical day was done, and the 
setting sun changed the broad blue waters into molten gold. Then 
we retraced our way through the forest, no longer sunlit, but 
sombre and very still, save for the sound of our own voices. But 
due provision had been made for the darkness ; and many friends 

94 A lady's cruise. 

and relations of tlic Samoan girls had come out to meet us, carry- 
ing long torches of cocoa-palm leaves, which blazed with a clear 
bright light, throwing a ruddy glow on all around, on semi-nude 
dusky figures, glossy foliage, tall Avliite palm-stems, and the great 
buttressed roots of the chestnuts, and on the brown -thatched cot- 
tages, whence groups of pleasant olive- coloured people looked out 
and cried Alnfa! to which kind greeting we responded, Ola 
alofa ! 1 

And so the Fa-Samo(X picnic has gone off very pleasantly, and 
we returned here to find all quiet, and to exchange the usual 
kindly courtesies with the refugees, who now have settled down 
for the night, as I must also do, that I may be ready to start at 
daybreak to get a sketch of the town and bay. 

II.B.M. CiiKsuLATE, Saturday Night. 

We returned this morning from a most interesting expedition to 
Malua, the great college of the London ]\Iission, of which J)v 
Turner, senior, is the head. It is about twelve miles from here, 
and Dr G. A. Turner, of the IMedical Mission, most kindly volun- 
teered to take ]\I. Pinart and myself in his l)oat. 80 he called for 
us yesterday morning, after an early breakfast. "We had a very 
beautiful row along the coast, and received the most cordial of 
welcomes from the Doctor, who is a fine old Scot, Avith a pretty, 
l)leasant, Highland wife. You home people can perhaps scarcely 
realise what a very great pleasure it is, in a far land like this, to 
find one's self suddenly dropped into the very heart of a real 
►Scotch nest of the best type, and at once to be treated like a 
friend. I have found such a welcome from many of my country- 
men in many lands, but nowhere more i)leasantly than in the 
peaceful home at Malua. 

The present Mrs Turner was the widow of i\rr ]M'Xair, one of 
the missionaries of Erromango, whose little daughter Ella, a pretty 
child eight years of age, is the pet of the family. 

You must not infer from my speaking of a college, that Malua 
' Great love to i'ou. 


bears the slightest resemblance to any collegiate institution in 
Europe. It is essentially South Sea, which means that it is 
suitable to the climate and the people, and it consists of a large 
village of about sixty neat thatched cottages, laid out in a square, 
at one side of which stands the large class-room. Each cottage is 
the home of a student with his wife and family, preference in the 
filling up of vacancies being given to married men, both as a means 
of educating the women and children, and also because the people, 
in applying for teachers, generally ask for one whose wife can teach 
their wives and daughters.^ 

Each cottage home is embowered in pleasant greenery and bright 
flowers, for each student is required to cultivate a garden sufficient 
for the requirements of his family, and to raise a surplus supply, 
which he may sell to provide them with clothing. 

Dr Turner himself founded this college in the year 1844, when 
the mission began to realise the extreme difficulty of keeping up a 
supply of trained teachers, not only for two districts in the group 
itself, but for the numerous other isles to which Samoan teachers 
had gone forth as pioneers. 

Besides, those early days had passed when the foreigners had 
been received as heaven-sent messengers, and hailed as the Papa- 
langl — i.e., those who have rent the heavens (the name still ap- 
plied to all foreigners throughout Polynesia). At first it was 
enough that a teacher had learnt the leading doctrines of Chris- 
tianity as opposed to idolatry ; but now these were generally 
accepted by all the people, many of whom took careful notes of 
every sermon they heard, and were as keen as any old wife in 
Scotland, in detecting any error in the teaching of their minister. 

Small mercy would these Samoan critics have shown to such a 
preacher as that young curate who, in his anxiety to improve the 
story of the Prodigal Son, expatiated at such length on the 
})eculiar sacrifice made in the selection of the fatted calf, which 

1 Apparently women are held in liigher estimation by the Samoans tiian by 
some folk in the British Lsles. I have just heard of a Highlander driving a very 
fierce bull along a highroad. To him, quoth a friend, "That is a dangerous- 
looking brute ! " " Ou na ! " replies the owner ; " he is just as ceevil as a sheep. 
He wadna hurt onybody, unless, maybe, weenien and bairns and suchlike ! " 

96 A lady's cruise. 

was no common calf, but one wlncli had evidently been a house- 
hold pet for Years, and Years, and YEAKS ! 

The Samoans are natural orators, and love to illustrate their 
subject with facts and comparisons from every source within their 
ken. So the preacher who would rivet the attention of his hearers 
needed to have studied his subject well. But at that time he had 
no books to help him, no commentaries to refer to, only a transla- 
tion of three Gospels and a few Scripture lessons; and many a 
teacher felt, what one expressed, — namely, that he was like a man 
attempting to cut down a forest with a blunt axe ; or like a foolish 
man, always hammering, but never hitting the nail on the head. 

The necessity of an educational institution was therefore ap- 
parent, and the chiefs were so favourably disposed to the scheme, 
that they offered to clear out of a whole village and make it over 
to the mission. It was, however, considered preferable to buy a 
l^iece of land on the coast, in a place quite apart from all other 
settlements ; so Malua was selected, and fifty acres of land pur- 
chased in due form. This land was reclaimed from the bush by 
the students themselves, who raise yams, taro, and bananas in 
abundance, and have also planted several thousand bread-fruit 
trees, cocoa-palms, and other fruit-bearing trees ; so that this noble 
institution is almost, if not altogether, self-supporting. 

From its commencement to the present day, fully two thousand 
teachers and native ministers have been here trained, including a 
considerable number of men from far-distant Papuan Isles — from 
the Xew Hebrides, Kew Caledonia, the Tokelau, and Savage Isles 
— all speaking different tongues, but here meeting together to learn 
what they can, and then carry the truth to their own distant isles. 
Oh how these perplexed teachers must long for a new Pente- 
costal gift, to enable them to address these men, each in his own 
language ! 

It would be difficult to imagine a healthier, happier life, than 
that of these students. At the first glimmer of the lovely tropical 
dawn, the college bell rings to mark the hour for household prayer. 
(There is probably not a house in Samoa where the family do not 
assemble daily for morning and evening prayer.) Then all the 


students go out, either to work in tlie gardens, or to fish in the 
calm lagoon. At eight the bell rings again to warn them that it 
is time to bathe and breakfast, to be ready for their class at nine. 
Classes and lectures continue till four, when they are again free to 
go fishing, gardening, carpentering, or whatever they prefer. At 
sunset each family meets for evening prayer ; then the men study 
by themselves till half-past nine, when the curfew bell (true 
couvre-feu) warns them to put out their lights. 

On Saturday evening there is a prayer-meeting in the institution 
chapel, when the students take it in turn to deliver a short 

Sunday is of course observed very strictly. The day begins 
with a prayer-meeting at six. At morning and afternoon service 
all the neighbouring villagers assemble, and the intervening and 
later hours are filled up with Sunday-school for children and Bible- 
classes for adults. A simple service, with a good deal of singing, 
ends the day. The Holy Communion is celebrated on the first 
Sunday of each month. 

The institution rules are few and simple ; but for any infringe- 
ment of them the penalty is a fine, which goes towards the expense 
of lights. 

The course of instruction includes arithmetic, geography, natural 
pliilosophy, writing, composition. Scripture history, and systematic 
and practical theology. For lack of books, Dr Turner and his 
fellow-tutor found it necessary, day by day, to write out copious 
notes of their lectures, and give them to all the young men to 
copy. Consequently each, on leaving the college, at the end of a 
four years' course, carried with him a large store of papers for 

Thanks to the diligent labours of Dr Turner and his colleagues 
(who during many years devoted about five hours daily to prepar- 
ing translations for publication), the libraries of Samoa now con- 
tain Scripture narratives and commentaries on the Old Testament, 
— commentaries on the Epistles and Gospels, Elements of Astron- 
omy, Elements of ]S"atural Philosophy, and various other works. 

We were told various examples of the acute and pithy remarks 


98 A lady's cruise. 

of the native teachers, and of the excellent illustrations they some- 
times make use of. Thus a hollow professor is likened to the cast- 
off shell of a lobster, so perfect in every claw and feeler, even to 
the transparent covering of the eyes, that the fisher, peering into 
the clear pools on the reef, mistakes it for a true and excellent 
prize, and only learns his error as he grasps the worthless shell. 

A strange illustration of " cutting off a right hand or a right 
foot, or plucking out a right eye, that offend," was given by a 
teacher at Tutuila, who told how often he had watched the mcdi 'o, 
or land-crab, which by day burroAvs deep in the soil, but by night 
hurries down to the sea to feed and drink. It is a wondrous 
cleanly creature ; and the Samoans declare that if on its seaward 
way, as it presses through the tall grass, it should chance to come 
in contact with any filth, which adheres to its legs, it will deliber- 
ately wrench them off, and thus, self-mutilated, hobbles back to its 
hole, there to hide till its legs grow again. It is positively affirmed 
that this most extraordinary crab has been known deliberately to 
wrench off its eight legs in succession, and then drag itself home 
Avith the greatest difficulty by means of its nippers. I must con- 
fess I think this crab would have shown more common-sense had 
he gone to the sea or the nearest stream and washed his dirty 
legs. But you must allow that the illustration was an apt one. 

Those who on hearing good words hearken, and for a season 
dwell on them in their hearts, but after a while return to their 
careless ways, are compared to the sensitive plant, which when 
touched closes its leaves and droops to the very earth, but anon 
rises up again as brave as ever. A backslider is compared to a 
certain fish which comes from the ocean to feed on the reef, and 
which for a day or two continues silvery white, but after a while 
becomes dark and unwholesome. 

A little sin is as a hole in a fisherman's basket, through which, 
one by one, fall the fish for which he has toiled so eagerly. First 
he loses all his little fish, and gradually, as the hole enlarges, the 
large fish also escape, and at last he reaches his journey's end with 
an empty basket. . 

The taint of old sins, clinging to one who would fain put away 


evil things, is compared to a strongly scented oil, with which a 
bottle-gourd has once been filled. Many and many a time must 
that gourd be washed ere it will lose the scent, and be fit to hold 
water for drinking.^ 

Still more striking is the illustration of a stately bread-fruit 
tree, fair to look upon, with large glossy leaves and abundant fruit, 
— a tree which in the natural course of healthy life will, when 
full grown, send up from its roots strong shoots, which yield their 
first crop in the second or third year, so that ere long the patri- 
archal tree is the centre of a leafy fruit-bearing grove. But there 
is an insignificant-looking parasitic fungus — merely a black spot 
like the smut that comes on wheat — which is fatal to this fair 
tree. Once it can establish itself, it spreads like a canker. The 
rich green leaves turn yellow, and the disease is soon carried from 
tree to tree, till the whole grove is sickly and blighted. It brings 
no fruit to perfection, and ere long the trees are dead. Only one 
antidote is known. It is said that there grows in the depths of 
the forest a glorious lily,'^ and that if some of its bulbs are 
brought and planted among the roots of the sickly trees, they 
will recover. And so, when the deadly rust of sin has cankered 
the heart of man, one only remedy can avail, — the life - giving 
influence of Him who is called the true Lily. 

Again, another teacher illustrates the necessity of rooting out all 
bad habits, no matter how trifling they may seem, by the example 
of the wild taro, which sends rootlets creeping in every direction, 
so that though the main root may be dug up, suckers innumerable 
remain, which need only time to bring them to sturdy life. 

Another parable is furnished by the sugar-cane, which grows 
tall and beautiful to the eye, but unless due care is taken to clear 
away the decayed leaves from around its roots, worms gather there, 
and pierce the cane, and rapidly multiplying within, fatten and 

1 The Rev. W. Wyatt Gill lias recorded a nniltitude of most interesting ex- 
amples of such parables from nature. Moreover, happily for all lovers of such 
lore, he has, during his mission career in the Ilervey Isles, found time to preserve 
many delightful " Myths and Songs from the South Pacific." It is much to be 
wished that the same could be done for other groups. 
Crinum asiaticuni. 



flourisli, so tliat when the husbandman gathers his cane, he finds 
its precious juice all gone, and in its place a multitude of loath- 
some worms. Even such, said the preacher, is the growth of little 

The soul that seeks to soar heavenward is likened to the ^jz'rw/ri 
— a small hird, which, like the skylark, seems to lose itself in the 
light. On the other hand, the snow-white tern, which, beneath its 
lovely white plumage, has a dull black skin, is a meet symbol of 
the hypocrite, whose fair feathers shall one day be plucked off, to 
reveal the false professor. 

Some of the questions propounded by the students are equally 
noteworthy, and few indeed suggest that confused wool-gathering 
of which every school examiner in Britain can quote such strange 
examples. The question asked by one young man was, " What is 
meant by Satan falling from heaven 1 " And I could not help 
thinking of the rash Sunday-school teacher who asked her class 
why, in Jacob's dream, the angels were seen descending by a 
ladder. To which replied a sharp child, " Please, 'twas because 
the angels were puking, and they couldna flee ! " She had charge 
oi her mother's poultry, which just then were moulting, so the 
comparison was forcible. 

Hitherto the students do not^appear to have been troubled with 
any speculative difficulties regarding the IMosaic account of Crea- 
tion, which, in Samoa, has reversed the European order, and has 
superseded the " Darwinian " theor3^ According to the legend of 
the isles, " In the beginning " the great god Tangaloa sent his 
daughter, in the form of a bird, to visit the great waters, which 
then covered the face of the earth. She found a rock rising above 
the surface, and there rested a while ere returning to the heavens. 
From time to time she revisited the rock, and carried thither some 
earth — and then a creeping plant. After a while she returned, 
and her plant had covered the earth, which gradually enlarged, as 
the waters dried up. Then the plant withered and decayed, and as 
it turned into slimy nastiness, a multitude of worms appeared, and 
they grew fat and flourished, and in due course of time men and 
v.'oiaen were evolved. So, you see, the Samoans had traced the 


human race back to its slimy origin, long before Dr Darwin electri- 
fied the civilised world with his discoveries ; but they have now .• 
discarded that ignoble ancestry in favour of the Divine theory. / 

A Samoan teacher often illustrates his meaning by some ingeni- 
ous allusion to the old legends and mythology of the isles. In his 
expositions of the Old Testament he is greatly assisted by the 
number of Samoan customs, strangely analogous to those of Syria 
and Palestine. Dr Turner has collected a multitude of such 
identities — and also of the striking metaphors and hyperboles dear 
to the Samoans. Thus, " Him that overcometh will I make a 
pillar in the temple of my God," had strange significance to those 
who believed that in Pulotu, the Samoan Paradise, the temple of 
their great god was supported by human pillars, who in this world 
had been great chiefs, whose highest aim had been the attainment 
of this honoured office. 

" They took branches of palm - leaves and went forth to meet 
Him, crying Hosanna," suggests the green leaves and branches 
often carried by the followers of a chief, and their songs in his 

In rejoicing, David " dancing and leaping before the ark," ex- 
actly describes the leaping and dancing and strange capers which 
even a high-caste chief will perform as he goes before a person or 
thing whom he wishes to honour. 

Piddles, such as those propounded by Samson, are among the 
commonest amusements of Samoa, and are combined with forfeits. 

With reference to King David's prayer, when " he went in and 
sat before the Lord," it is remarked that in Samoa, as in all the 
Polynesian groups, it is a mark of disrespect to stand in the 
presence of a superior. To sit on the ground with the head bent 
down is the correct attitude of reverence and devotion. 

In the account of David's covenant with Jonathan, the latter 
" stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to 
David," — an action which is the commonest expression of friend- 
ship in the South Seas. 

" He kissed him, and smelled the smell of his raiment," is an 
excellent description of the South Sea custom of greeting all 

102 A lady's cruise. 

friends with a prolonged and impressive sniff. They touch 
nosps and sniff, and then smell the hand and the garment of the 

" Children by adoption " is strangely expressive in isles where 
every family has adopted children. The term " brothers " includes 
nephews and cousins in Samoa as in Judea. " Endless genealo- 
gies," and reverence for ancestry, are equally marked features in 
both races. 

" Take up thy bed and walk " is easily understood, where a pile 
of soft mats is the bed of the highest chief. 

" They cast off their clothes, and threw dust in the air " is a 
Samoan expression of great anger. The expressions descriptive of 
mourning for the dead in Syria might have, been written in the 
South Seas. "They rent their clothes and cut themselves." 
" They disfigure their faces." Even so, those strange islanders 
deliberately cut their faces with sharks' teeth and other sharp 
instruments, and bruised their heads with stones in token of grief. 
" Cut off thine hair and take up a lamentation ; " " Make great 
wailing for the dead ; " " They mourned for him thirty days ; " 
"They ate the offerings of the dead;" They fast "till the sun be 
down," — all exactly describe Samoan custom. Further, " They 
made a very great burning for him." (Here they made great 
bonfires in honour of the dead and also burned their own flesh 
with firebrands.) 

The custom alluded to by the man of Mount Ephraim, who 
spoke to his mother of " the shekels of silver that were taken from 
thee, about which thou cursedst," had its counterpart in heathen 
Samoa, where a man would sit down and deliberately invoke 
curses on an unknown thief, praying that rats might eat his fine 
mats and cloth; that fire might blast his eyes and those of his 
god ; that the shark might devour him, or the thunder slay him ; 
or that at least he might be afflicted with sores and ulcers. Even 
to this day you may sometimes observe a tiny square of matting, 
witlL strips of white tappa, hanging from a fruit-tree, or a few reeds 
stuck into the ground and tied together at the top (clam-shells being 
buried beneath them), or some similar mark which appeals to the 


superstitious fear of tlie possible thief, warning him of the curses 
that will attach to whoever breaks the taboo. I have seen this 
identical custom in many lands, from Ceylon eastward. 

A suspected thief was put upon oath in presence of the chiefs. 
Some venerated object was brought from the temple — a sacred 
stone, a trumpet -shell, or a cocoa-nut shell, which ranked as a 
divining -cup — and the accused, laying his hand on this object, 
had to pray that the gods would slay him if he spoke falsely. If 
he swore by a holy stone, a handful of grass was laid upon it, to 
signify that the doom of the false swearer would include his house- 
hold, and that all his kindred would perish, and the grass grow on 
the site of their dwelling. 

With reference to war customs. " The Philistine cursed David 
by his gods." " Curse ye Meroz, . . . because they came not to 
the help of the Lord." So would a company of Samoan chiefs sit 
in conclave, and pray that the gods would curse those who refused 
to help in war. "Let his house be made a dunghill." "They 
shall bring out the bones out of their graves." " Fell every good 
tree, and stop all wells of water." All these were literal features 
in Samoan warfare. " Lay ye the heads in two heaps at the enter- 
ing in of the gate," was also quite a natural direction. The descrip- 
tion of the songs of the Jewish women in honour of the victor, 
when " the women answered one another as they played, and said, 
Saul hath slain his thousands, 
And David his ten thousands," 
might have been Avritten of Samoan women describing the deeds 
of their warriors, and thereby often stirring up bitter anger and 

With regard to weapons, the " sling and stone," the " smooth 
stone of the brook," the "arrows, . . . the poison whereof 
drinketh up my spirit," exactly describe those of the Pacific ; 
while the description of Saul encamped under a tree, " having 
his spear in his hand," is a true picture of any fine old Soutii 
Sea chief. Further, it is said, " The trumpeters stood by the 
king ; " and though the trumpets of the Pacific are only perforated 
shells, the blast blown through them in honour of a chief, or to 

104 A lady's ckuise. 

rally ■warriors in time of war, is sufficiently piercing to rouse the 

The crown and the bracelet worn by King Saul in battle seem 
most natural adornments to these chiefs, whose bracelets and crowns 
(if nautilus shell attracted our admiration at their council of war. 
As our Lord spoke of unclean spirits walking through dry places, 
seeking rest, so these islanders believe that unquiet spirits roam at 
large in the forest, and they propitiate them by offerings of food. 

In the Xew Hebrides, Dr Turner met ^with a curious illus- 
tration of that strange history of Elisha giving his staff to Gehazi, 
and bidding him lay it on the face of the sick child. The staff of 
the "New Hebrides was a polished stick of black iron-wood, which 
was the representative of a god, whose ministering priest was one 
of the disease-makers. When summoned to attend a case of sick- 
ness, this sacred staff was carried to the sick man's room, and the 
priest, leaning upon it, pronounced certain charmed words, after 
which recovery Avas considered certain. 

In Samoa and other groups, all disease was supposed to be the 
work of malignant wizards, therefore to them the friends of the 
sick applied for healing, or at least for counsel, even as Ahaziah 
sent his messengers to the priests of the god of Ekron to learn 
Avhether he would recover of his sickness. 

For the healing of the sick, as well as conferring honour and 
personal comfort, " anointing with oil " was as familiar in Judea 
as in Samoa. " Thou anointest my head with oil," might be said 
by any honoured guest in these isles ; while " oil to make him of 
a cheerful countenance " was equally requisite. St James's direc- 
tions for the healing of the sick by the prayers of the Church 
elders, and anointing with oil, literally describe the course pursued 
in various parts of the Pacific — as, for instance, in the Tokelau 
isles, where the friends of a sick man send for the priest of the 
disease-making god, who comes, and dipping his hand in oil, passes 
it gently over the sufferer, offering prayers for his recovery. An 
important part of the ceremony, however, not prescribed by St 
James, is the offering of fine mats to the priest. 

These are but a few of the multitude of illustrations collected 


by Dr Turner.^ There are many more, such as the occasional 
custom of embalming the dead, the compulsory observance of the 
rite of circumcision, contempt for nations who neglect it, marriage 
customs, the punishment of death for aduli^ery, the law of divorce ; 
the singularly patriarchal law which obliged each bride to be 
accompanied by one or more handmaids, taken from among her 
near relations, and who filled the place of secondary wives — so that 
a chief who owned three or four wives, possessed such a large and 
troublesome harem, that the majority Avere generally allowed to 
return to their parents ; and lastly, the custom that a widow must 
become the wife of her deceased husband's brother, or, failing him, 
of his nearest male relative. 

The plurality of wives appears, singularly enough, to have been 
little more than a business transaction, in which the principal had 
very small interest. The marriages of a high chief were simply so 
many speculations in fine mats, which the bride brought as her 
dower, and which the bridegroom was expected to hand over to 
his principal si;pporters, or head-men, who had arranged the match, 
and provided the feast. These men were the bankers of the tribe 
in whose hands its property accumulated ; and of course they lost 
no means of adding to it, as well as of strengthening clan connec- 
tions by multiplying marriages. Hence this question formed one 
of the chief difficulties of the early missionaries. 

This very practical reason for polygamy also accounted in a 
great measure for the curious custom of adopting the children of 
living parents, which prevailed to so extraordinary an extent. It 
appears that the child was really little more than an excuse for a 
constant exchange of property, its true parents constantly sending 
gifts of tonga — that is, native property — to the adoptive parents ; 
while these as often sent back goodwill-oflferings of oloa — I.e., 
foreign goods. 

When the students are considered sufficiently advanced, they 
are occasionally sent to help the teacher of one of the neighbour- 
ing villages, and practise the art of preaching, ere being appointed 

1 Nineteen Years in Polynesia. By the Rev. George Turner, London ilissionary 

lOG A lady's cruise. 

to the sole cliargG of a congregation. Of course only the well- 
tried men are promoted to the rank of native minister. 

The scale of ecclesiastical pay is certainly not such as to induce 
men to enter the service of the Church for filthy lucre's sake. A 
house, a certain amount of food, and a small annual contribution 
in kind, the value of which in no case exceeds £10, and is gene- 
rally much less, is certainly not an undue share of loaves and 
fishes, especially as no agent of the mission is allowed to engage 
in any manner of trade, or other secular occupation, beyond the 
cultivation of his own garden. Tlie annual contribution of his 
parishioners consists probably of half-a-dozen mats, value from 2s. 
to 6s. ; 30 to 40 yards of calico, value 6d. a yard ; some pieces of 
native cloth, worth Is. each; a larger piece of tappa, for a cur- 
tain ; a shirt, a fowl, a duck, two pigs, and a few nondescript coins 
of various nations and small value. 

I have heard so many unfair and untrue insinuations made 
by white traders, and quoted without further inquiry by many 
travellers, to the effect that many missionaries are in reality grasp- 
ing and avaricious traders, that it may be as well to mention that 
such false accusations are invariably made by men who find their 
unjust gains somewhat lessened by the presence of men whose 
standard of barter is more honourable. If a native comes to work 
for a missionary, or brings him vegetables or fish for sale, and 
receives in payment a larger piece of cloth, or a knife — both of 
better quality than he would receive from the trader — he naturally 
learns something of the fair value of his work, or his goods. 

^Moreover, one of the first proofs of vitality given by these 
island churches (as in every healthy branch of the Christian 
Church) has always been a readiness to contribute, not only to the 
general expenses of the mission in their own country, but also to 
sending forth teachers to the isles which are still steeped in hea- 
tlienism. As it lias been most convenient to make these payments 
in kind, eax;h district has collected its own offerings, chiefly in 
the form of measures of cocoa-nut oil ; and these contributions 
have been annually conveyed to the home market by the mission 
ship on her return cruise. Hence the nickname of " Palm-oil 


Ship," so derisively bestowed by men "whose very limited notions 
of their own religious duties certainly do not include any obligation 
to support foreign missions. 

Another source of equally uncalled-for fault-finding has been 
the receiving of payment for copies of the Bible and other books, 
as if the mission, having gone to enormous expense in printing 
successive editions, each of several thousand copies (and the pub- 
lication of works in an unknown tongue is at all times a trouble- 
some matter), were to blame in offering these for sale, at prices 
varying from Is. to 2s. a volume — that is to say, little, if at all, in 
excess of cost price. A copy of every book published in the 
Samoan language is given gratis to each student, and to every 
agent of the mission. How eagerly the precious books have been 
liought up by other natives, is shown by the fact of their having 
voluntarily paid several thousand pounds to acquire copies for 

At the present moment the students at the college number 
eighty — all fine young men ; of these forty-tAvo are married, and 
occupy the pretty cosy cottages which form this South Sea college. 
There are also about twenty big boys, and a number of small ones, 
all receiving a most careful education. These are gathered from 
every island in the group, and represent many of the principal 
families, who support the different parties noAv striving for suprem- 
acj. But this is neutral ground, respected by all parties, so poli- 
tics are excluded as far as is possible. 

After luncheon, all these assembled to meet us in the large 
native church — a fine building, of white coral lime, rounded at the 
ends like a Tongan house, and with a deep thatch roof. I never 
saw a finer lot of men and women, with keen intelligent faces. 
I fear their verdict on the foreign lady must have been very differ- 
ent; for, what with my early sketching expedition on foot, and 
then the long twelve miles in the boat, in glaring light from sun 
and sea, I literally could scarcely keep my eyes open ; and having 
foolishly striven to do so, after luncheon (when I might have 
obtained the blessed " forty winks " in private), I paid the penalty 
when we reached the cool dark church, and had the humiliatinff 

108 A lady's cruise. 

consciousness tliat the struggle was becoming vainer and more vain, 
till at length the angel of sleep triumphed, and held me captive, 
while M. Pinart put the students through a slight examination, 
simply as a matter of form. 

Afterwards we wandered about the settlement, which is in every 
respect a model one, and then we enjoyed a pleasant evening at the 
calm peaceful mission-house, which stands on a grassy headland, 
palm-fringed, the sea washing three sides of the lawn. It is quite 
an idyllic home, — a true earthly paradise, Avhere the useful and 
loving life glides on day by day, undisturbed by the wars and 
rumours of war on every side. But the peace and the home have 
alike been purchased by many a year of hard ungrudging toil in 
the heat and burden of the day. 

For Dr Turner began his mission career in stormy times. Soon 
after the Eev. John Williams had been treacherously murdered at 
Eromanga in the Xew Hebrides, in November 1839, the London 
Mission Society determined to make a renewed effort for the con- 
version of its fierce inveterate cannibals. Mr and Mrs Turner 
were accordingly sent on this most dangerous mission. They were 
joined in Samoa by Mr and ]\Irs I^isbet, and together proceeded 
to the ]S^ew Hebrides. 

The day before Mr Williams's death, he had succeeded in land- 
ing three Samoan teachers as pioneers, on the isle of Tanna, twenty 
miles from Eromanga. To this isle the missionaries now sailed — 
not without grave doubts whether they should find the teachers 
alive. (It was now June 1842.) They found them safe, but 
their work had made small progress. The people were continually 
at war, and most unconscionable thieves. They had, however, 
two good points — infanticide was not common, and they were 
careful of their own sick, so far as they knew how. But wilder 
and more savage surroundings could scarcely be conceived than 
those in which the Turners and K'isbets found themselves left, 
when the little vessel which had brought them from Samoa had 
sailed away. 

They soon discovered one serious difi'erence between the !N'ew 
Hebrides and the isles of the Eastern Pacific. In the latter, one 


language is understood throughout a whole grouj), with only such 
variations as occur between Yorkshire and Somerset. But in the 
'New Hebrides, each island speaks a totally different dialect, and 
though within sight one of another (as Fortuna, Aneiteum, Tanna, 
and Eromanga) they cannot understand one another; and the 
books printed for one would be totally useless for the next. Even 
on the same island the diff"erent tribes are so isolated by war and 
jealousies that their language remains as totally distinct as that of 
the Celts and Saxons in Scotland or Wales. 

This circumstance, added to the intense jealousies of the tribes, 
made it a matter of extreme difficulty, as well as danger, to attempt 
visiting different villages, in which endeavour Mr Turner and Mr 
Kisbet nevertheless persevered, always at the risk of their lives, 
being inspired with an intense belief in the reality of their Lord's 
command (to go into all the world and preach to all His human 
creatures), and also in His protecting care. 

So when a vessel touched the isle, and off"ered to carry them all 
away, the mission band refused to desert their post, and for seven 
months contrived to maintain their ground. But it was a constant 
struggle and never-ceasing danger. During five months out of the 
seven the tribes were at war, and at last the whole powerful body 
of sacred medicine-men — the rain-makers and thunder-makers, and 
especially the diseaae-makers — were filled with such jealousy of the 
foreigners who gave away medicines, and so diminished their gains, 
that they stirred up the islanders generally to believe that the 
dysentery, coughs, and influenza which had recently, for the first 
time, appeared in the group, were all produced by the white men ; 
and, strangely enough, their assertion seemed confirmed by the fact 
that the tribe among whom the missionaries were living, actually 
escaped these illnesses. 

So about two thousand wild savages united for a more deter- 
mined onslaught on this friendly tribe ; and at last, seeing matters 
were desperate, the little band of Christians, nineteen in all, were 
compelled to Hy for tlieir lives. They accordingly emljarked at 
dead of night in an open boat and a canoe, hoping to reach the 
Isle Aneiteum, preferring to face the certain hardshi^^s of sucli a 

110 A lady's cruise. 

voyage to tlie worse certainty of being consigned to cannibal ovens. 
The sea was, however, wild and tempestuous; and after vainly 
struggling for several hours to make head against it, they were 
compelled to return to land, and happily re-entered their own 
house before any of the natives had discovered their flight. 
Matters now seemed desperate; but, as the old proverb says, 
" jNIan's extremity is God's opportunity." "When the villages were 
blazing on every side of them, and their last hours seemed at hand, 
a sail hove in sight. It proved to be The Iliglilander (name of 
good omen), a whaler, whose captain, knowing that the Turners 
and Nisbets had gone to Tanna, thought he would just run in and 
see if they were still alive. The presence of the foreign ship 
stayed the fighting for the moment, and enabled the mission party 
very quietly to make their prei:)arations for embarking. This was 
on Saturday. On Sunday, they as usual abstained from any 
manner of Avork, and held public worship. Soon after midnight 
tliey silently stole forth, and though their chapel and outhouses, 
and even the boat -shed, were crowded with people from the 
neighbouring villages, whose homes had been burnt by the enemy, 
not one awoke till almost all the party were safely on board with 
their baggage. So this was accomplished without the dreaded 
opposition. At last some men awoke, and then messengers flew 
through the district to summon the chiefs. Mr Turner asked them 
all to come on board to bid him farewelL Eleven did so, and 
expressed their grief at all that had occurred ; one fine old chief 
wept like a child, but none ventured to bid the white men stay. 
In truth, they said that they expected themselves to be exter- 
minated as soon as the vessel had departed. 

Seeing no possibility of establishing a mission on any of the 
neighbouring isles, Mr Turner induced Captain Lucas to convey 
the whole party to Samoa — a journey which was not without 
danger, owing to baffling winds and the lack of any reliable chart. 
They narrowly escaped coming to grief as they passed through 
the Fiji group, wliere the vessel was becalmed and quickly sur- 
rounded by large war-canoes, each manned by from fifty to a 
hundred most formidable, armed savages. Providentially a light 


breeze sprang up and carried them away from that danger ; and 
so in due time they reached Apia, where they found welcome and 
much-needed rest and comfort. 

Soon after, Mr Turner was appointed to the charge of a district 
in Samoa, which gave him the care of sixteen villages; but ere 
long the pressing need of teachers led to the commencement of the 
training college, where, with the exception of occasional voyages to 
the JSTew Hebrides and other groups, he and his successive col- 
leagues have ever since found abundant work, in training native 
evangelists, translating valuable books, and, so far as lay in their 
power (not having received a regular medical training), in minis- 
tering to the temporal needs of the people, administering such 
medicines as they could procure, and even, under pressure of 
necessity, attending to surgical cases. Their chief care, however, 
was to vaccinate every man, woman, and child within reach, 
a precaution to which may bo attributed the happy circumstance 
that there has never been a case of smallpox in Samoa, though it 
is visited by so many foreign shij^s. In many other groups, where 
some chance vessel has touched, the deadly infection has been left, 
and in some cases about a third of the population has died, 

Dr Turner observed that the people of Tanna are in mortal 
dread of a form of witchcraft precisely similar to that so com- 
monly practised in Fiji in its heathen days (and perhaps, sub rosa, 
even now ; for we noticed the extreme care with which some of 
our followers occasionally collected and buried every scrap of food 
which they, or we, had touched). 

The Fijians believed that if they could get a fragment of the 
hair or food of an enemy, or a small bit of any garment he had 
worn, the heathen priest could therewith work a spell which should 
cause death within four days. The priest kindled a fire and per- 
formed incantations over these relics, approaching the spot only on 
his hands and knees. 

The wizard of Tana is a professional disease-maker. He prowls 
about, continually seeking for refuse of any sort which he can turn 
to account. An old banana-skin, a bit of a cocoa-nut, the parings 
of a yam, will answer his purpose. He wraps it in a leaf, that no 

112 A lady's cruise. 

one may kuow exactly wliat he has found. He ties the parcel 
round his neck, and stalks about ostentatiously through the vil- 
lages. In the evening he scrapes some bark off a certain tree, 
mixes it with the rubbish he has found, rolls it all together in a 
leaf, like a very long cigar, and lays it close to the fire, so that one 
end may gradually smoulder. As it burns, the true owner becomes 
ill ; and as the pain increases, he calls to his friends, who imme- 
diately recognise the work of the disease-maker, and blow loud 
blasts on the trumpet-shell, which can be heard at a distance of 
two or three miles. This is a pledge that if he will stop burning 
the rul)bish, they will bring him offerings of their best mats, 
pigs, &c. 

The wizard, hearing the blast, draws away the green cigar, and 
waits impatiently to see what gift his dupes will bring in the 
morning. They firmly believe that if the cigar is allowed to burn 
to the end, the victim must die. Should the pain return, the 
friends suppose the wizard is dissatisfied with his gifts, and they 
l)low louder than before, making night hideous with their dismal 
noise, and load the disease-maker with presents, all of which he of 
course readily accepts. Should the man die, the friends merely 
suppose they failed to propitiate the wretch. These wizards were 
the worst foes of the mission party, and were for ever trying to 
work spells for their destruction, though happily without effect. 

You can readily understand how a people deeply imbued Avith 
the faith in this possibility of working mischief, were always 
ready to attribute to the missionaries those epidemics of illness, 
formerly unknown, which so strangely seem to have broken 
out in almost every group soon after the arrival of white men — 
generally influenza, measles, smallpox, or dysentery, each of which 
has invariably jn-oved a deadly pestilence when first attacking 
these races. 

I have just told you how this belief resulted in the mission 
being driven from Tanna. About the same time, dysentery ap- 
peared in the neighbouring isle of Fotuna, and led to the massacre 
of the Samoan teachers who had been left there by Mr Williams. 
It also ravaged Eromanga, carrying off one-third of the population, 


who believed that the scourge had been introduced by some 
hatchets which they had received as barter from a sandal-wood 
ship, and accordingly they threw them all away. On several other 
islands the teachers were either murdered or compelled to flee for 
their lives, solely on this account. 

What makes this more remarkable is, that these illnesses often 
followed the visit of a ship which itself had a perfectly clean bill 
of health; and in many cases the missionaries and other good 
authorities recorded that they had no reason to believe that any 
white man had been to blame for the introduction of new diseases. 

Therefore the poor islanders naturally concluded that these 
scourges were introduced by malicious foreign gods ; so when a 
Samoan family assembled for their evening meal, the head of the 
house, ere tasting his bowl of kava, poured a little on the ground 
as a drink-offering to the gods ; and every voice was hushed while 
he prayed that the gods of Samoa would give increase and prosper- 
ity to the household and all pertaining to it ; that the war-gods 
Avould give strength to the people; but to such foreign gods as 
might have arrived in Tongan canoes or great ships, he said — - 
" Here is kava for you, O sailing gods ; do not com© ashore at this 
place, but be pleased to remain on the ocean, and go to some other 
land ! " 

Sometimes the worshippers preferred to leave this matter in the 
care of their own protecting gods. In that case they kindled a 
blazing fire just before the evening meal, and off"ered its light to 
the king of gods, and all his fellow-deities, beseeching them to 
keep away from Samoa all sailing gods, lest they should come and 
cause disease and death. 

I)r Turner takes high rank among the apostles of the Pacific. 
Few men living know better, from their own experience, how mar- 
vellous has been the change wrought in the last forty years, by 
which barbarous cannibals have been transformed into peaceful 

For instance, when he first visited the Isle of Nine, or Savage 
Island (which lies as the centre of a triangle formed by Tonga, 
Samoa, and the Ilervey Isles), its people were in much the same 


lU A lady's cruise, 

condition as Captain Cook found tliem, when they rushed on his 
men "like savage boars," which was their invariable reception of 
all outsiders — not of white men only (though these were invari- 
ably repulsed), but also of men whose canoes chanced to drift 
from Tonga or Samoa, or even of their own countrymen who had 
left the island and returned. All such were invariably killed, 
chiefly from a dread lest they should introduce foreign diseases. 
So great was this fear, that even when they did venture to begin 
trading, they would not use anything obtained from ships till it 
had been hung in quarantine in the bush for weeks. 

For sixty years after Captain Cook's visit, these 4000 veiy 
exclusive savages adhered to their determination that no stranger 
should ever live on their isle. At the end of that time they 
agreed to allow Samoan teachers to settle among them; and so 
successful has been the work of these men, that the island is now 
peopled with model Christians. J^o more wars, no fightings, no 
thefts, but a peaceful and happy community (sufficiently) " clothed 
and in their right mind ; " living in good houses of the Samoan 
type, instead of filthy huts ; assembling for school and worship in 
large suitable buildings, and with abundant leisure to cultivate the 
soil and prepare the arrowroot and other produce, with which to 
purchase not only calico, hatchets, knives, &c., but also copies 
of the Scriptures, hymns, and commentaries, translated into the 
Savage Island dialect by the Samoan teachers, and printed at 

Like the Tongans, these very sensible savages have discovered a 
means of making criminals really useful to the community. For 
theft and all other offences, the chief sentences the ofi'ender to 
make so many fathoms of road of neatly laid blocks of coral, filled 
in with small stones, and covered Avith a level layer of earth. 
Thus a good road, shaded by a double row of cocoa-palms, now 
encircles the isle — a circuit of perhaps fifty miles. 

Do you think that Captain Cook would now recognise his " wild 
boars " 1 

In like manner, when Dr Turner first visited the Loyalty Isles, 
of which Xew Caledonia is the prmcipal isle, he found hideous 


cannibals, without a rag of clothing, but whitewashed from head to 
foot to improve their beauty. Tliis was tlie height of fashion on 
Mare. On his return in 1859, he found that perhaps one side of 
an island had adopted Christianitj-, and that clean, decently clad 
congregations of men and women assembled on the shore to meet 
him, eager that he should hear them read the Scriptures from books 
•printed in their own dialect, — a strange contrast to the other side 
of the same isle, still plunged in heathen degradation, engaged in 
ceaseless war, feasting on the bodies of the slain, and occasionally 
capturing a Christian teacher, whose zeal led him to adventure 
within their reach. 

Much the same state of things prevailed on some of the Xew 
Hebrides, where the isle of Aneiteum was the most hopeful centre 
of operations, its population of upwards of 3000 persons having all 
professedly become Christians, and 300 being actually church 
members. Fifty-six different villages had built schools for their 
own use, and eleven had chapels. Sixty of the more advanced 
natives ranked as teachers, and several had gone to work on the 
hostile isles around. On these, also, two white missionaries had 
established themselves, though still enduring a hard struggle, and 
making very little way apparently. 

More recent incidents have proved how slow and difficult has 
been their work. 

On the voyage I speak of, the converts presented Dr Turner 
with upwards of a hundred of their discarded idols — storm-gods 
and rain-gods, gods of war and of sickness, gods of the land and of 
the sea, of the fruits of the earth and of all living things, — a 
strange motley collection of poor dishonoured images, each of 
which had been an object of awe through many a dark year, now 
all huddled together in the hold of the foreign ship. 

Amongst the simpler idols of Samoa were a number of smooth 
water-worn stones, more or less egg-shaped — precisely similar to 
those still reverenced in Indian temples, and which were so long 
held in honour in the British Isles.-"- One of those was the Samoan 

1 For a few examples, to which many m^re might he added, see From the 
Hebrides to the Himalayas,' vol. i. pp. IG, 74, 130-134. 

116 A lady's cruise. 

laiii-god, Avlio Avas instructed in his duties by a priest, and in 
times of drought Avas carried to the stream and therein Lathed. 
J^)Ut should rain fall in excess, the poor god was popped into the 
lire, to make him personally aware that the land needed a drying. 

On the same principle the rain-making priests in New Caledonia 
do or did dig up a dead hody, and, having carried the bones to a 
cave, there fastened them together to form a complete skeleton, 
Avhich they hung up, and poured water over it, supposing that the 
8])irit of the dead would take the hint and cause the clouds to 
pour rain on the thirsty land. These priests were so far true to 
their pretensions that they remained in the cave fasting till rain 
did fall, and some actually died at their post. When fine weather 
was required, they kindled a fire beneath the skeleton and let it 

Similar as were these rain-making customs, there does not ap- 
pear to have been any link between the Samoans and these Loyalty 
Islanders, the latter being about as debased a race of cannibals as 
could well be imagined, — men who, not content with eating the 
bodies of foes slain in battle, tied up their captives to trees, and 
prepared the ovens for their reception before their very eyes. The 
women followed their lords to battle, to be in readiness to seize 
the falling foe and carry his body to, the rear and prepare it for 
the feast. They themselves were liable to be eaten if captured ; 
and the youngest children of the tribe shared the horrid meal. On 
ordinary occasions the Loyalty Islanders had only one meal a-day. 
The luxury of kava was unknown to them, but they indulged in 
copious draughts of sea-water. They wore no apology for clothes. 
A chief might marry thirty wives, no matter how closely related to 
him by ties of blood. The Samoans, on the contrary, rigorously 
prohibited the marriage of any persons nearly related, declaring 
that such unions called down the wrath of the gods. The gods 
of the New Caledonians were the ancestral spirits, and their 
treasured relics were the finger and toe nails of their friends. In 
burying the dead the head was left above ground; and on the 
tenth day it was twisted off by the mourning relatives, who pre- 
served the skull, extracting the teeth as separate treasures. The 

" EX AVANT !" 117 

teetli of old women, scattered over a yam plantation, were supposed 
to secure a good crop ; and for the same reason the skulls of all 
the old village crones were stuck on poles near the gardens. 

I wonder if all these distinctions between the manners and cus- 
toms of the various groups, convey to your untravelled mind one- 
thousandth part of the interest they possess to us, who have 
actually lived among so many different races. I fear it is impos- 
sible that they should. But you can well understand the thank- 
fulness of such men as Dr Turner and his colleagues, in watching 
the, gradual change from year to year, as the Gospel of mercy takes 
root in such unpromising soil ; and they themselves find loving 
welcome from the very men who in past years thirsted for their 
blood, and shed that of so many fellow-workers. 

Fain would Ave have lingered at peaceful Malua, and listened to 
stories of the South Seas from the lips of those who have them- 
selves been actors in so many thrilling scenes, extending from the 
far west to this centre. But it was necessary to return to Apia 
this morning, so we regretfully bade farewell to these kind new 
friends, who loaded us with gifts of strange things, brought from 
many isles, and sped us on our way. 

Here we found all quiet. The Seignelay has had a long day of 
entertaining. First the Sisters went on board, with their sixty 
children, who were duly impressed with the wonders of the great 
ship; afterwards all the young men from the Catholic College had 
their turn. 

M. de Gironde has just been here, to tell me the vessel sails for 
Tahiti on Monday. He brings the kindest letters and messages 
from the captain and all the party, expressive of their true wish 
that I should proceed with them on the " Tour de la Mission." 
Indeed the state of affairs here is not such as to invite a prolonged 
stay. And there might be a detention of months among theso 
discordant elements, ere I found an opportunity to return to Fiji. 

118 A lady's cruise. 



"When I first landed in Fiji in 1875, nothing amazed me so 
much as the wonderful Avork which has there been done by tlie 
"Wesleyan Mission — a work of which the outside world literally 
knew nothing. Now that my w'anderings have led me further 
east, I see that different regiments of the great Christian army 
have each been doing their part in forwarding their Master's cause; 
and so strangely interesting are many details of their work, which. 
I have now heard for the first time, that I think I cannot do 
better than note them down, feeling c[uite convinced that you wiU 
find them as new and as full of interest as I myself have done. 

The extraordinary success of the South Sea missions is certainly 
to be attributed in a great measure to that triumph of common- 
sense which made the various societies agree, almost at the outset, 
in a great measure to divide the field of labour, and so endeavour 
to avoid distracting the minds of the simple islanders, by allowing 
them to perceive that their teachers could possibly disagree among 

In the I^orth Pacific some good working power has doubtless 
been lost by the establishment in the Sandwich Isles of both an 
English Episcopal Mission and American Congregationalists. Tlie 
Dowager Queen Emma is a stanch adherent of the English Church, 
as was also her husband, who himself translated the prayer-book 
into the Hawaiian language. But the majority of tlie people there 
(as throughout Polynesia) find the less ceremonious forms of re- 
ligious observance better adapted to their needs. 

So the American Board of Foreign Missions, which commenced 
its work in 1820, met with such success, that within half a 


century the whole group had been evangelised, and a self-support- 
ing native Church, with native pastors, established. It is now 
extending its operations among the islands in the north-western 
part of the Pacific, between the equator and Japan. These are 
collectively described as Micronesia, on account of their extremely 
small size, the majority being simply low atolls, few of which rise 
more than ten feet above the level of the ocean. 

The south-western isles of the Pacific, which come under the 
general name of Melanesia, are chiefly in the hands of the English 
Church Societies, and of tlie Presbyterian Mission, 

The countless large groups which occupy the south-east of the 
ocean, and are generally described as Polynesia, have been almost 
entirely Christianised by the London and AVesleyan Missions. 

Shortly after Captain Cook's discoveries had first drawn atten- 
tion to the existence of these unexplored regions, the London Mis- 
sion, which includes men of all the evangelical sects, began its 
work by sending men to the Marquesas, the Society Isles (Tahiti 
and Eaiatea), and to Tonga. 

Of the sad fate which befell the first Tongan missionaries, I have 
already spoken. Three were murdered, and the rest compelled to 
fly for their lives. Some years later, the Wesleyan Mission ven- 
tured to reoccupy the field, when they found the people someAvhat 
penitent. They were able to establish themselves under the pro- 
tection of some friendly chiefs, and ere long had the satisfaction of 
knowing that Christianity was striking firm deep roots in the soil 
which at first seemed so unpromising. 

Truly marvellous has been the growth of the tree thus Avatered 
by the blood of tliose brave pioneers. Eighty years have elapsed 
since their martyrdom, at which time there was not one isle in the 
whole Pacific which was not steeped in debasing heathenism and 
cruel wars. 'Now, throughout Polynesia, idolatry is a thing of tlie 
past ; none of the present generation have even seen the wood and 
stone gods of their fathers : infanticide and murder are probably less 
common than in Europe, and a reverent obedience to all Christian 
precepts a good deal more apparent than in civilised countries. On 
upwards of 300 isles (where in the early half of this century no boat 

120 A lady's cruise. 

could liave touched ^\•ithout imminent danger), Christianity of a 
really practical sort now reigns. Ui^wards of a quarter of a million 
])ersons show their faith in its requirements hy utterly changed 
lives, and at least 60,000 of these are regular communicants. The 
casual traveller, who, a few years ago, would almost inevitably 
have been killed had he ventured to land, is now chiefly in danger 
of asserting that the natives have been trained to be religious over- 
much, — their " innocent nature " cramped ; and so the chances arc, 
that without intending to do mischief, he throws his influence of 
the moment into the opposite scale, and is perhaps the source of 
more evil than he dreams of. 

Having not only succeeded in transforming the savage Tongans 
into earnest Christians, but also into most zealous and capable 
teachers, the Wesleyan missionaries next made their way to Fiji, 
where their success was still more wonderful, and a race of most 
cruel cannibals has become one of the gentlest on earth. ^ 

About the same time the Samoan Isles, which were then an al- 
most unknown group, were sought out by the Rev. John Williams 
of the London Mission, one of the boldest and most successful of 
the early pioneers. He began his work at Raiatea, in the year 
1817, with such success, that when, in 1821, an opportunity pre- 
sented itself of visiting the Hervey Isles (of which nothing was 
known, except that such a group existed), several converts from 
Raiatea volunteered to go there as pioneers. They were accord- 
ingly landed on the isle of Aitutaki,^ the very name of which 
might have suggested encouragement. There they were favourably 
received by Tamatoa, the chief, and his people. lievertheless, as 
it was well known that these were all cannibals, and constantly at 
war one with another, it was not without deep anxiety that Mr 
Williams left the teachers to begin the mission. When, however, 
in the following year, he returned to the group, in company with 
Mr Bourne, they were received with the glad tidings that the 
people of Aitutaki had all, without exception, abjured idolatry, 
biu'nt their mnray, and begun to Avorship the Saviour; that they 

^ Vide 'At Home in Fiji,' by C. F. Gordon Gumming. 
- Aitutaki, "led by God." 


had built a large church, and rigidly hallowed the Sabbath. On 
the following day nearly 2000 of these now tamed savages as- 
sembled on the shore, and all knelt together in solemn prayer to 
the Christian's God ; after which they brought thirty of their 
discarded idols, and carried them on board the mission-ship, that 
the men of other isles, beholding them, might know that they were 
no gods, but only worthless images, and so might be led to discard 
their own. 

This was a satisfactory beginning for one year's work ; and a 
great promise for the future lay in the fact that among the con- 
verts were six natives from the then unknown isle of Earotonga, 
who earnestly prayed that teachers might be sent to their brethren, 
and that they themselves might be allowed to accompany them. 
The men of Aitutaki declared the Rarotongans to be most ferocious 
cannibals, and horribly treacherous, and were sorely alarmed for 
the safety of any teachers who should venture among them. 
Nevertheless it was agreed that the opportunity was one not to 
be lost. Accordingly the mission-ship sailed in search of Earo- 
tonga. For eight days they sought in vain, but failed to dis- 
cover it. 

At last they found themselves off an isle which proved to ])e 
Mangaia. There three brave Tahitian teachers, two of whom were 
accompanied by their wives, volunteered to land and endeavour to 
establish a footing among the people. These, however, proved 
such unmitigated savages that the attempt was frustrated. Though 
the chiefs had invited the teachers to land, their doing so was the 
signal for brutal ill-treatment of both men and w^omeu. All their 
little property was at once stolen, and they only escaped with their 
lives by swimming back to the ship through the surf. 

A few months later another attempt was made to commence a 
mission in the Hervey Isles. Once more the mission-ship returned 
to Mangaia, and two unmarried teachers, Davida and Tiere, leaped 
into the sea and swam to the shore, taking nothing with them 
but the cloth they wore, and a portion of the Xew Testament in 
Tahitian, which was carefully wrapped up and tied on their heads. 
Crowds had assembled on the shore, and one warrior rushed at 


123 A lady's ckuise. 

them with a long spear, but the luBge \vas arrested by the king 
himself, who received them kindly, and at once led them to his 
own seaside temple, in order that the people might consider their 
persons sacred. This they were inclined to do ; for soon after 
their cruel treatment of the first teachers, a terrible epidemic had 
broken out in the isle, which had carried off young and old, chiefs 
and peasants. Supposing this to be a punishment sent by the God 
of those strangers, they collected all the property they had stolen 
from them, the calico dresses torn off the women, and the strips 
into which they had torn the Bibles to make ornaments for their 
hair at the midnight dances in honour of the god Tane. All these 
things they threw into a chasm in the mountains into which they 
were in the habit of casting their dead, and made solemn vows to 
the unknown God that if His servants returned to their isle they 
should be well cared for. So now they prepared a feast for the 
two bold swimmers, and allowed them to settle among them in 

Meanwhile INIr "Williams had continued the search for Earo- 
tonga, and had touched at the isles of Atiu, ]\[auke, and Mitiaro. 
The story of that voyage is more thrilling than any romance. It 
was as if a flash of electric light had suddenly illumined the thick 
darkness. What that darkness was you may infer from the fact 
that only four years previously all these islands had been decimated 
by war and cannibalism. The fierce people of Mitiaro had slain 
and eaten several canoe-loads of the men of Atiu, whose kinsfolk, 
determined to avenge them, came over in force, and by treachery 
gained access to the stronghold of the men of JMitiaro. A fearful 
massacre ensued, and to this day the oven is shown into which men 
and women and helpless infants were throAvn alive to be cooked ; 
the only mercy shown was when the brains of the children were 
dashed on the stones, and so tliey were killed ere being cast into 
the oven. "When the conquerors had eaten their fill, tliey packed 
basketfuls of the savoury meat to regale their wives and families 
at Atiu ; but ere tliey left the blood-stained isle they practised one 
more barbarity common to heathen warfare. In dragging the great 
double canoes over the sharp coral, it is usual to lay down soft 


banana stumps to act as rollers, and so protect the canoes from 
injury. The rollers now used were living naked men and Avonien, 
tied together hand and foot, and over their writhing bodies were 
the heavy canoes drawn in triumph. 

The same terrible fate had overtaken the neighbouring isle of 
Mauke, when the arrival of the mission-ship brought to these isles 
the blessed Gospel of peace. The first man to step on board at 
Atiu was the terrible chief, Eomatane, who had led the expeditions 
against Mitiaro and Mauke : he was a man of strikingly command- 
ing aspect, with beautiful long black hair. He was eagerly wel- 
comed by the chief of Aitutaki, who had already destroyed his 
idols and accepted the new faith ; and so earnestly did this zealous 
convert plead all through the long night with his brother chief, 
that, ere the morrow dawned, the truth of his words seemed borne 
in upon the mind of Eomatane, and he vowed that never again 
would he worship any God save Jehovah. He returned ashore to 
announce this decision to his people, and his intention of imme- 
diately destroying his idols and their temples. Then returning on 
board, he agreed to direct the course of the vessel to the then 
unknown isles of Mitiaro and Mauke, which hitherto he had 
visited only with fire and sword. ISTow it was his voice that 
proclaimed the truths he had just learned, and that exhorted the 
people to destroy all their idols and build a house for the worship 
of the true God. At each isle he himself escorted the Tahitian 
teachers and their wives to the house of the principal chief, and 
charged him to care for them and hearken to their instructions. 

Thus in one short day was this mighty revolution wrought in 
three isles, which had never before even seen a foreign ship. Eo- 
matane and his brother Mana proved themselves true to their first 
convictions ; and among their stanch fellow-workers was one who, 
to this day, tells how, at the massacre of his kinsfolk on ilauke, 
when he was carried away captive, he was laid on the baskets con- 
taining the baked flesh of his uncles and fellow-countrymen, and 
narrowly escaped being himself consigned to the oven. 

The mission work progressed without a drawback. The people, 
almost without demur, determined to destroy the idols they had 

124 A lady's cruise. 

so long revered. ^lany were rescued as museum curiosities, and 
the mission - ship sailed onward with those grotesque monsters 
hanging from her yard-arms, and otherwise displayed as trophies, 
leaving in their stead earnest converts, from Eaiatca and Tahiti, 
to instruct these AvilHng hearers. 

When they had almost given up in despair their search for 
Earotonga, one of the new converts told them that if they would 
sail to a given point on the isle of Atiu, he could thence take 
bearings which would enable him to find it. So for this starting- 
point they made ; and, true to his word, the islesman directed them 
how to steer, and after several days they reached the beautiful isle 
they sought. Here they were received in the most friendly man- 
ner; and the young king, ]\Iakea (an exceedingly handsome man, 
six feet high, and beautifully tattooed), came on board himself, 
and agreed to take the native teachers ashore, with their wives 
and the six Christian natives who had been brought back to their 
own isle. This promising beginning was, however, not without a 
check ; for in the early dawn the teachers returned to the ship, 
bringing back their wives with garments all tattered and torn, 
telling of the grievous treatment they had endured. The chiefs 
were exceedingly anxious that the teachers should remain on the 
isle to teach them the Word of God, but wished to annex their 

It was therefore decided that, for the present, only one fine old 
teacher should be left, with the six Rarotongans who had first 
suggested the commencement of the mission, on their unknown 
isle. So well did their work progress, that within a year the 
whole population had renounced idolatry. Makea, the king, was 
among the earliest converts; and when, in 1827, Mr Williams 
and Mr Pitman arrived with their wives and families to settle in 
liarotonga, they were received by an enthusiastic crowd of about 
3000 persons, each of whom insisted on shaking hands so heartily, 
that their arms ached severely for several hours after. All these 
were professedly Christians ; and the new-comers learnt that there 
was not a house on the isle in which the family did not assemble 
morning and evening for family worship. A few days after their 


arrival, they perceived a great body of people approaching bearing 
heavy burdens. These proved to be fourteen immense idols, tha 
smallest of Avhich was about fifteen feet high. Some of these 
■were reserved to decorate the rafters of the new chapel, built by 
the people themselves, to contain 3000 persons ; the rest were 

While this marvellous change was being wrought on the other 
isles, the brave young teachers who had swum ashore on Mangaia 
were steadily making their way. Within two years one died, 
leaving Davida to labour alone. He had, however, by this time 
made some progress ; and on one glad day the king and chiefs 
determined to abandon the idol shrine, where, every evening, 
offerings of food were presented to the thii'teen known gods, and 
to the great host of the unknown. !So, to tlie great joy of 
Davida, the thirteen idols were carried to his house by tlieir late 
worshippers, and there stripped of the sacred white cloth in which 
priests and gods were always clothed. They are noAv preserved in 
the museum of the London mission, and very much resemble the 
wooden idols of the ancient Britons to be seen in our antiqiiariaa 

^ Notably one dug out of the peat-moss at Ballacluilisli, now in the Antiquarian 
Museum in Edinburgh ; and those in the Museum at Hull ; also those in the Berlin 
Museum. All these have the eyes formed of quartz pebbles, instead of the bits of 
jjearly shell or of obsidian used in the manufacture of idols in the Pacific. 

The stone gods also had their counterparts in our own isles. When Dr Turner 
visited the Union or Tokelau Isles in 1850, be found that the great god, Tui 
Tokelau, was supposed to be ein}x)died in a rude stone, which was carefully 
■wrapped up in fine mats, and never seen by any Innnan eyes save those of the 
king, who is also the high priest. Even he might only look upon the sacred stone 
once a-year, when the old mats were removed and new ones supplied. Of course 
constant exposure in all weather, day and night, soon decayed the mats ; but the 
worshippers continually offered new ones, esjjecially in cases of sickness, and these 
were wrapped round the idol, so that, ere the day came round for its disrobing, it 
attained a prodigious size. The old mats were considered so sacred that none 
might touch them ; so they were laiil in a place apart, and there left to rot. The 
month of May was especially devoted to the worshiii of this god, and the people 
assembled from all the Tokelau isles to hold a great feast in its honour, and to 
])ray for prosperity and health, and especially /or an abundant suj)ply offish and 

Now turn from the Pacific to the North Atlantic, and read a statement by tlie 
Earl of Ro'len, in his ' Progress of the Kefornuition in Ireland.' He says ; — 


Thus, in an incredibly short space of time, was tlie whole system 
of idolatry, with its bloody human sacrifices, overthrown in the 
Hervey Isles ; and how marvellous was the change wrought in 
every respect, has been described by Lord Byron, Commander of 
H.M.S. Blonde, when he accidentally found himself in the group, 
— and, recognising it as one of those discovered by Captain Cook, 
approached land with extreme caution, but was welcomed by noble- 
looking men, dressed in cotton shirts and very fine mats, who pro- 
duced written documents from the London Mission Society, quali- 
fying them to act as teachers, and then took him ashore to a neat 
village with a good school and a crowded church. 

From that time forward, the Hervey Islanders have not only 
been true to their own profession, but have proved zealous mis- 
sionaries in carrying the Gospel to other isles. Their theological 
college has already sent forth about 150 trained men as teachers. 
About 50 of these are at the present moment scattered among 
various remote isles of the Pacific, some of which are still cannibal. 
Six of the most zealous and determined men have gone, accom- 
panied by their brave missionary wives, to face the unknown perils 
that await them in N'ew Guinea — where, doubtless, their work will 
bear good fruit, and prove the first step in opening up that vast 
island to the commerce of the civilised world. ^ 

The very first missionary effort of the Hervey Islanders was 

"In the south island — i.e., Inniskea, off the coasst of Mayo — in the house of a 
man named Monigan, a stone idol, called in the Irish Neevougi, has been, from 
time immemorial, religiously preserved and worshipped. This god resembles in 
appearance a tliick roll of home-spun flannel, which arises from the custom of 
dedicating a dress of that material to it whenever its aid is sought ; this is sewu 
on by an old woman, its priestess, whose peculiar care it is. Of the early history 
of this idol no authentic information can be procured, but its power is believed to 
be inmiense. They pray to it in time of sickness ; it is invoked lohen a storm is 
desired to dash some hapless ship upon their coast ; and again, the exercise of its 
power is solicited in calming the angry waves to admit of fishing or visiting tlie 

It scarcely seems possible, does it, to realise that our own ancestors were as 
gross idolaters as any South Sea Islanders ? Yet in the majority of these isles the 
present generation have never seen an idol of any sort ; and should they ever visit 
our museums, they would gaze on the gods of their own fathers as wonderingly as 
we do on those of the early Britons. 

1 Alas ! the fate of the majority has .ilready been sealed. In the sjiring of 


directed by Mr "Williams towards Samoa. Even before he left 
Eaiatea, he had resolved to visit the Navigator group, to endeav- 
our, there also, to plant some seed of good, which might per- 
chance take root. Now that the work had so prospered in the 
Hervey Isles, he ventured to broach the subject to his wife, who, 
naturally enough, at first objected to being left alone with her 
children for many months among a race of utter savages, while her 
husband went off on a very long and dangerous voyage of about 
200 miles, to face perhaps still greater dangers when he reached 
his destination. After a while, however, this brave woman made 
up her mind that it was right he should go ; and much to his 
astonishment, several months after the subject had been dismissed, 
she volunteered her consent. 

Then came the primary difficulty of transit. They possessed no 
vessel which could possibly make such a journey — only native 
canoes. Nothing daunted, Mr Williams determined to try his 
hand at shipbuilding, though it was a trade of which he knew 
little, and he had scarcely any tools. His first great difficulty lay 
in making a pair of smith's bellows. Though he possessed only 
four goats, three were sacrificed for the sake of their skins. The 
fourth, which was giving a little milk, was spared. Scarcely were 
the bellows finished, when the rats, sole indigenous animals, as- 
sembled in scores, and in one night devoured every particle of 

1881, the following brief paragraph aunounced that the lives of these brava 
pioneers had already been sacrificed : — 

"Massacre of BIissionaries. — Despatches received in Liverpool announce the 
massacre in New Guinea of a numljer of missionaries belonging to the London 
Missionary Society. The news was conveyed to Melbourne in a telegram from the 
Rev. Mr Beswick, who himself naiTowly escaped with his life. On the 7th of 
March the missionaries were attacked by the natives at Kato, in the district of 
Port Moresby, Hulu, and four of them, with two of their wives, four children, and 
two servants, were killed. The natives also attempted to kill four native boys who 
■were with the missionary party, but they saved themselves by swimming. Not the 
slightest provocation was given ; but it is stated in the despatch that the perpe- 
trators of otlier previous massacres on the coast have not been punished, and this 
is considered to be the main cause of the outbreak. The total number of persons 
killed was twelve, but the list would have been much greater had not the remainder 
of the party made their immediate escape. For fear the natives would make a 
further attack upon the missionaries in the outlying districts, they were all i-e- 
moved from their stations to Port Moresby." 

123 A lady's cruise. 

leather. Having none in reserve, invention was sorely taxed, till 
at last Mr Williams devised a machine which should throw out air 
as a pump throws water. 

This was but one of the countless difficulties to be overcome. 
To obtain planks, trees were split with wedges, and then cut up 
Avith small hatchets. For lack of nails the planks were riveted 
together with wooden pins. Sails were made of quilted mats and 
riipes of hybiscus-bark. Cocoa-nut husk supplied the place of 
oakum. A clumsy stone anchor was contrived, and also a wooden 
one. In short, determination triumphed over every difficulty ; and 
in fifteen weeks, without any help save what the Rarotongans 
could give by obeying his directions, Mr Williams had the satis- 
faction of launching a seaworthy vessel of about 80 tons burden, 
60 feet in length, and 18 in breadth. To test her sailing powers, 
she was to make a preliminary trip to Aitutaki, distant about 170 
miles. Before they had gone six miles, the natives let slip the 
foresail, which, straining in the wind, broke the foremast, and 
with some difficulty they returned to land. Having repaired the 
damage, they started again, reached Aitutaki, and returned thence 
to Rarotonga with a cargo of pigs, cats, and cocoa-nuts. The two 
first, but especially the pigs, Avere invaluable in ridding the island 
of rats ; but a cargo of cocoa-nuts suggests coals to Newcastle, till 
Ave learn that in native warfare the cocoa-palms and bread-fruit 
trees Avere invariably destroyed, so that the fruitful isles Avere 
utterly ravaged. 

The Messenger of Peace beitig noAv proven seaAvorthy, sailed for 
Tahiti, whence she Avas despatched to the Marquesas, and on 
several other mission expeditions, ere starting on that for which 
slie had been designed. It Avas not till the year 1830, that Mr 
Williams, taking Mr Barff as his colleague, and seven Tahitian 
teachers Avith their Avives and children, actually sailed in search 
of the almost uuknoAvn Navigator's Isles. They touched at the 
Hervey Isles on their Avay, and these likcAvise contributed scA'eral 
teachers, eager to carry to Samoa the Word of Peace, Avhich liad 
so recently gladdened themselves. 

Passing on thence to Tonga they received Avarm Avelcome from 


King George, wlio had long been a zealous Christian, and whose 
energetic nature had thrown itself heart and soul into the work of 
converting his people. Never did finer material exist. The Ton- 
gans have ever been noted for their strong, self-reliant, earnest 
character; and the same determination which in old days made 
them dreaded as the most daring pirates of the South Seas, was 
now called into play in quite a new manner, and the pushing 
ambitious men who were ever coming to the front in deeds of 
aggression, were henceforth the champions of the Christian faitli 
and its most zealous pioneers. 

At Tonga Mr Williams was the guest of ]\Iessrs Xathaniel 
Turner and Cross. The name of the latter is familiar to us, as 
having shared, with the Rev. David Cargill, the danger and hon- 
our of founding the Wesleyan ^Mission in Fiji. From them they 
heard with joy that Taufaahau, the chief of the Happai group, — 
a man of indomitable courage and determination, — had recently 
visited King George at Tongatabu, in order to judge for himself 
of the new religion. He then returned to his own dominions 
accompanied by Tongan native teachers, and proceeded to destroy 
all the idols and altars, exhorting the chiefs to follow his example. 
Many were naturally indignant at this proceeding, and determined 
to celebrate a great festival in honour of the gods. Turtle and 
other sacred fish had to be caught for the offerings ; so the high- 
handed chief, Taufaahau, profited by the delay to desecrate the 
temple by driving a herd of pigs into the sacred enclosure, and 
converting the temple itself into a sleeping-room for his women- 
servants — the presence of a woman being considered pollution to 
a viarae. 

So utterly obnoxious to the gods was the female sex, that it was 
certain deatii for any woman to set foot in a temple — and Avhen 
victims were about to be seized for sacrifice, the greatest care was 
taken to prevent the approach of any female relation, lest she 
should touch the corpse, and so render it unfit to be offered at the 
marae. When the worsliippers arrived with their offerings of 
turtle, they found the poor gods all disrobed, hanging by the neck 
from the rafters ; and knowing the stern resolution of their chief, 


130 A lady's cruise. 

tliey retired, discomfited. Having given this proof of his sin- 
cerity, Taufaahau next sent his best canoe to Tonga, to bring Mr 
Thomas, the missionary whose teaching had so impressed him ; and 
who, in answer to this summons, started with his wife to make the 
journey of 200 miles in this open canoe, in order to follow up the 
work thus begun on Happai. 

At Vavau, the third group, the work seemed to have little pros- 
pect of success, so virulent was the opposition of Finau the high 
chief, who threatened death to any of his people who listened to 
the teachers. Yet within two years he was himself a zealous con- 
vert, and upwards of 2000 of his followers were in the habit of 
assembling for the Sunday services. 

The teachers of the Tonga lotu — i.e., the Wesley ans — continued 
steadily working, and their influence spread as a leaven of good 
from isle to isle. At Tonga the Samoan party received an un- 
looked-for reinforcement in the person of Fauea, a Samoan chief, 
who had for some time been living in Tonga, and had there 
become a Christian. He requested Mr Williams to give him a 
jDassage in his ship, and proved an invaluable helper, directing him 
to steer for Savaii, the principal isle, of which he himself proved 
to be a high chief, and related to Malietoa, the greatest chief of all. 

Fauea was a man of sound judgment and of most persuasive 
eloquence. But he was greatly troubled lest they should meet 
with violent opposition from Tamafainga, whom the people obeyed 
with trembling, believing that in him dwelt the spirit of the gods. 
It was therefore with unmixed relief that he heard, on his arrival, 
that this dreaded opponent had been killed a few days previously, 
and that there had not yet been time for the chiefs of all the isles 
to meet and elect his successor in the office of spiritual ruler. 

So the IMessenger of Peace was found to have arrived in the 
very nick of time, and all the people received Fauea and his 
2)'ipalcmgi ^ friends with open arms. Malietoa indeed, declared 
that he was engaged in a war of vengeance, in which he could not 
stay his hand, but that it should be the last ; and that when 
peace was restored he Avould himself lotu — that is, become a 

1 Foreign. 


Christian — and encourage all his people to do likewise. He and 
his brother Tamalelangi, or " Son of the Sky," each jDromised to 
protect the native teachers and their wives, and gave them a 
hearty welcome as they laiided ; nevertheless, the old order passed 
away in flames and bloodshed, all to avenge the murder of the 
rapacious tyrant, who had actually been worshipped as a god, till 
the people could no longer endure his outrages and oppressions, 
and so waylaid and slew him. 

Even at the moment when the teachers were landing on the 
island of Savaii, the mountains of Upolu, on the other side of the 
straits, were enveloped in flames and smoke, which told that a 
battle had been fought that very morning, and that not only were 
the plantations being destroyed, but that the women, children, and 
infirm people were all being murdered, and their bodies burnt in 
their villages. This sanguinary war continued for several months, 
and the country was so desolated that for miles together not a 
house was left standing; and even the villages which escaped 
were full of the sound of wailing and mourning for the dead, in 
whose honour the living lacerated their own flesh with broken 
shells and sharks' teeth. When, finally, one party triumphed, 
they made huge bonfires, into which they threAV many of the van- 
quished. Though the Samoans were never guilty of cannibalism, 
still there was enough of barbarous cruelty in their warfare to 
make a residence among them a very anxious experiment. Hav- 
ing done what they could to smooth the way for the teachers, Mr 
Williams and his colleague were obliged to leave them, in devout 
trust that their work might prosper. 

Twenty months elapsed ere they were again able to return to 
Samoa, and marvellous, far beyond their highest hopes, was the 
change they found. On their first visit they had only touched at 
Savaii and Upolu, tlie most Avesterly of the Navigator group. 
Now the first land they sighted was Manua, the most easterly, 
about 250 miles distant from that on which the teachers were 
established. To their astonishment a number of canoes came out 
to meet them, and as they neared the vessel several natives stood 
up and declared themselves to be Christians, and that they were 

132 A lady's cuuise. 

■waiting for a fdlii lotu — a religion-ship — to Lring tliem a teacher 
who could tell tlieni about Jesus Christ. Great was their dis- 
appointment Avhen they heard that IMr AVillianis had only been 
able to secure one teacher, whom he had promised to leave on 
another isle. 

These people had received such knowledge as they possessed 
from a canoe which had drifted all the way from liairavae, an 
island upwards of 300 miles to the south of Tahiti, and fully 
2000 miles from that where it at length arrived, after a three 
months' voyage, in the course of which twenty of the party died 
of the hardships they underwent. But the survivors had carefully 
preserved their copy of the Tahitian translation of the Scriptures ; 
and on reaching the unknown isle they built a reed-hut for their 
chapel, and there met daily for worship. Thus, among the strange 
and precious treasures which from time to time are cast up by the 
ocean on far-away isles, did the people of Manua receive the Word 
of Life. 

Among those Avho had heard it gladly was a fine young fellow, 
a native of Leone, in the Isle Tutuila, to which he begged to be 
conveyed in the foreign ship, that he might teach his brethren 
what he had learnt. Thither they sailed, touching at the Isles 
Orosenga and Ofu, where as yet no rumour of the new teaching 
had been heard. 

As they approached Tutuila, they were surrounded by a vast 
number of canoes filled with excessively wild-looking men, clam- 
ouring for powder and muskets, as they were on the eve of a great 
war with a neighbouring chief. No sign there of any leaven of 
good — in fact, the presence among them of a resident Englishman 
of the " beach-combing " fraternity, was anything but a hopeful 
indication. The amount of mischief done by even the average 
specimens of this class has been incalculable ; but many have been 
miscreants of the deepest dye, Avhose crimes have aroused the 
horror of even the vilest heathen. Many of them were despera- 
does — convicts escaped from New South Wales in stolen vessels, 
which they scuttled on reaching any desirable isle, where they 
generally contrived to make themselves useful in war, and so 


secure the protection of some cliief. One of tliese men, who made 
his way to Samoa, Avas said to have shot 200 persons with his 
musket, smearing himself with charcoal and oil to enable him to 
creep within range undetected. His delight at the end of such a 
day's sport Avas to seat himself on a sort of litter, smeared with 
blood, surrounded by the heads of his victims, and so be carried 
home by his followers, yelling savage songs of triumph. Such 
men as these were not exactly calculated to improve the morals of 
the Pacific ! 

Passing on to beautiful Leone, which bore an evil character for 
savage cruelty and treachery, and the massacre of various boats' 
crews, the mission party beheld the people drawn up on the beach, 
in Avhat appeared a formidable array. They, however, lowered 
the boat and neared the shore, when the chief, bidding his people 
sit down, waded up to his neck till he reached the strangers, and 
explained that he and his followers were no longer savage, but 
" sons of the word ; " and went on to tell how, twenty moons 
previously, some of his people liad been at Savaii when the white 
chief Williams had arrived there with some tama-fai-lotu, " Avork- 
ers of religion," and having learnt a little, they had returned 
home Avith the neAVS, and already fifty of the people had become 
Christians. Pointing to a group Avho sat someAvhat apart, under 
the shade of the bread-fruit trees, and Avho each Avore a strip of 
Avhite native cloth tied round one arm, he said that those were the 
Christians, who had adopted that badge to distinguish them from 
the heathen ; that they had built a place for prayer, in a thicket 
of bananas ; and that one of their number from time to time 
crossed over to Savaii in his little canoe, to " get some more re- 
ligion " from the teachers ^ to bring back to his OAvn people. 

On learning that the man he AA'as addressing was the identical 

1 The thought of this poor savage, week by week imperilling his life by crossing 
that stormy sea in his frail canoe, has often come vividly to my mind as an illus- 
tration of the words in Dent. xxx. 11-14: "This commandment which I command 
thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not .... be- 
yond the sea, that thou shouldest say. Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring 
it unto us, tlit\t we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, 
in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." 


" white chief " who had visited Savaii, he made a sign to his 
people, who ruslied into the sea, and carried tlie boat and all who 
were in it high and dry on the beacli in tlioir enthusiastic Avel- 
come ; but when they learnt that the religion-ship had brought no 
teacher for them, their disappointment was unbounded ; and so, 
we may well believe, Avas that of the zealous apostle who had dis- 
coA'ered these isles " white to the harvest," but had failed to find 

So eager was the desire to know about the better way, that 
there were many places in the isles where the people, having only 
heard a dim rumour of what others had learnt, had actually built 
places for the worship of the unknown God, and, having prepared 
their food on the Saturday, assembled there at six o'clock each 
Sabbath morning, and again twice in the day, not for service, 
because none knew what to saj'^, but to sit together in reverent 
silence, waiting for some revelation of His will. It seemed a 
strangely literal illustration of the words of the Hebrew prophet, 
" The isles shall wait for His law." 

Passing on to the beautiful little isle of Manono, and the great 
isles of Savaii and TJpolu, the missionaries were received with 
extravagant joy by teachers and people ; and by the high chiefs 
with more nose-rubbing than was agreeable ! They heard with 
delight that all the principal chiefs and many of the people had 
already declared themselves Christians, and had proved themselves 
in earnest by truly consistent conduct; and that the majority of 
the people had resolved to follow their good example. Upwards 
of a thousand sat breathlessly to hear the white man's words, 
spoken in Tahitian, and interpreted by one of the teachers. Then 
Makea, the king of Earotonga, a man of magnificent stature, who 
had accompanied Mr Williams, addressed the people, and explained 
how Avonderful had been the change wrought in his own isles 
since they embraced the lotu ; ^ how, in old days, they had been 
for ever fighting and murdering one another, till at length they 
had hearkened to the voice of the teachers, and, in fear and trem- 
bling, had brought their idols to be burnt, and had Avatched from 

1 Christianity. 


afar while those daring men had cooked their bananas on the 

Here, in Samoa, there were very few idols, and no blood-stained 
rnaraes, altars, or temples ; human sacrifice, or indeed any sort of 
sacrifice, was not required ; hence the expression, " Godless as a 
8amoan," by which the men of other groups described any one 
who neglected the service of the temples. The Samoans, however, 
were diligent in the worship of their own ancestors, and, moreover, 
supposed that the spirit of their gods animated divers birds, fishes, 
or reptiles. As certain Indian tribes have adopted different ani- 
mals as their totem-god, so in Samoa and the Hervey Isles, each 
chief had his etit — i.e., some living creature, which to him and to 
his people was sacred ; and foreigners, ignorant of this matter, 
sometimes incurred serious danger from accidentally killing some 
revered reptile, or even insect. The man who found a dead body 
of his representative deity, say an owl, a heron, or a bat, would stop 
and wail piteously, beating his own forehead with stones till it bled ; 
then wrapping up the poor dead creature with all reverence, he 
would solemnly bury it, with as much care as if it had been a near 
relation. This was supposed to be pleasing to the gods. When, 
therefore, any Samoan resolved to declare himself a Christian, he 
commenced by killing and eating the familiar spirit of his tribe, 
whether grasshopper, centipede, octopus, vampire-bat, snake, eel, 
lizard, parrot, or other creature.-'- 

There was one chief who reverenced as his eiu the fractured, 
but carefully mended, skull of a white man, whose firearms had 
won his admiration, though the man's crimes had led to his 
being clubbed. An amusing story is told of the terror with 
which these simple folk first beheld a talking cockatoo in the 
cabin of a vessel. "With a cry of dismay they rushed on deck 
and leapt overboard, declaring that the captain had his etu in the 
cabin, and that they had heard it talking to him. 

The story of the conversion of these much tattooed but little 
clothed warriors abounds in picturesque detail. Thus, when the 
great chief Malietoa promised Mi* Williams that he would become 
1 See note on Elu worship at the end of tlii.s letter. 


a Christian so soon as lie had fully avenged the death of Tamafa- 
inga, "in whom Avas the spirit of the evil gods," before himself 
going forth to battle, he sent one of his sons to help the teachers 
to build their chapel. On his return, when the chapel was to be 
opened, he called his sons together and announced his intention of 
fulfilling his promise to the white chief. With one accord they 
replied that what Avas good for their father was good for them, and 
that they too would lotu. This, however, he forbade, declaring 
that if they obstinately insisted on so doing, he would continue in 
the faith of his ancestors. " Do you not know," he said, " that the 
gods will be enraged with me and seek to destroy me 1 and per- 
haps Jehovah may not be strong enough to protect me against 
them ! I purpose, therefore, to try the experiment. If He can 
protect me, you may safely follow my example 3 but if not, then I 
only shall perish." 

The young men were reluctant to obey, and asked how long they 
must allow for this test, Malietoa suggested a month or six 
weeks ; and intense was the interest with which all his people 
waited and watched, lest sickness or other evil should befall him. 
But when, at the end of three weeks, all went on prosperously, it 
was felt that the supremacy of the Christian's God was established, 
and the sons of Malietoa Avould wait no longer. So, calling to- 
gether a great company of friends and kinsmen, they proceeded 
solemnly to cook a large quantity of anae, a silvery fish, which 
was the etu of their tribe. These being laid on freshly gathered 
leaves, were placed before each person, and the teachers solemnly 
offered a prayer, ere, with fear and trembling, these young converts 
nerved themselves to swallow a few morsels of the sacred fish, 
hitherto held in such reverence. So intense, however, was the 
hold of the old superstition, that the young men, unable to con- 
quer their fear lest the etu should gnaw their vitals and destroy 
them, immediately retired to swallow a large dose of cocoa-nut oil 
and salt water, which, acting as a powerful emetic, greatly tended 
to counteract any malignant influence of the offended gods. 

Soon after this, a great meeting of chiefs was convened to 
consult on the fate of Papo, the venerable god of war. This 


renowned relic was nothing but a strip of rotten old matting, about 
three yards long and four inches wide, which was always attached 
to the war-canoe of the highest chief when he went forth to battle. 
Xow an impious voice suggested that this venerated rag should be 
thrown in the fire, but a burst of disapprobation silenced this cruel 
suggestion. However, all agreed that Papo must be exterminated ; 
so as drowning was a less horrible death than burning, they re- 
solved to launch a new canoe, in which a number of high chiefs 
should row out to sea, and, having fastened Papo to a heavy stone, 
should commit him to the deep. They had actually started .on 
this errand, with great ceremony, when the teachers hurried after 
them in another canoe, to beg that the old war-god might be pre- 
sented to Mr Williams. The chiefs were immensely relieved by 
tlie suggestion ; and the venerable strip of matting is now to be 
seen in the museum of the London Mission. 

I cannot solve the mystery of this Samoan reverence for certain 
ancient mats ; but I well remember our astonishment, when the 
Samoan chiefs came to Fiji to consult Sir Arthur Gordon on the 
question of British protection, to see with what infinite solemnity 
these fine stately men presented him witli a very dirty and exceed- 
ingly unfragrant and tattered old mat, which, I believe, was to be 
offered to her Majesty Queenie Vikatoria, but has, I think, found 
an asylum in the British Museum. What makes this so very 
strange is, that the mats worn by the Samoan chiefs and ladies are 
beautifully fine and glossy, of most delicate straw-colour, and edged 
with handsome grass-fringe. 

Whatever may have been the origin of this form of antiquarian 
lunacy, its existence is an unmistakable reality. The Samoan chief 
treasures the dirty and ragged old mat of some revered ancestor as a 
British regiment does the tattered colours which find their honoured 
rest in some grey sanctuary. The old mat, which from generation to 
generation has been jealously guarded by his clan, is his patent of 
nobility, and the title-deed which, proves his right to broad acres. 
Some of these strips of dirty old matting, which no rag-man would 
pick off a dust-heap, are known throughout the group by special 
names. There is one, which is known to be upwards of 200 years 


old, during which period its successive guardians have all been 
duly enrolled. It is called Moe-e-fui-fui — i.e., the mat which slept 
beneath the vines — in allusion to its having lain hidden for several 
years among the lilac ipomeas which twine in matted tangles all 
along the sea-beach. K"o money would induce a Samoan to sell 
one of these unsavoury treasures: it is said that £100 might be 
offered in vain, though I certainly cannot imagine any sane person 
offering 100 pence. 

However, it is simply a form of relic-worship, — and probably no 
whit more foolish than the adoration of dirty clothes and kindred 
oljjects, supposed to have been hallowed by the touch of Christian 
or Buddhist saints. Indeed I am far more inclined to sympathise 
with the heathen Tahitian, who wore as an amulet the toe-nail of 
the father whom he had loved, than I can do with the multitudi- 
nous Christians who sanctify their altars by the presence of some 
splinter of saintly bone. 

Amongst the many touching incidents of these early days, was 
that of one large village in which, contrary to the general course, all 
the women became Christians before any of the men did so. Mr 
AVilliams had reached a town called Amoa, the people of which had 
all accepted the lotu, when a party of seventy women approached 
in single file, each bearing a gift. At their head walked a tall 
handsome woman, with a mat, dyed red, folded about her loins, 
and the upper part of her body freely anointed with sweet-oil, 
tinged with turmeric. On her neck and arms she wore a necklace 
and bracelets of large blue beads ; but her hair, alas ! was all cut 
off, except one little lock falling over the left cheek. Her com- 
panions were equally picturesque, — the unmarried women being 
distinguished by their Avearing a white mat, and no oil and 
turmeric, and by their retaining a profusion of graceful curls on 
one side of their head, while the other was shaven and shorn. 
The poorest girls wore only fringes of large leaves and wreaths of 

It appeared that the leader was a chiefess of high rank, who, 
some time previously, had come to Amoa, and there remained for 
a month, diligently attending to the instructions of the teachers. 


Then, returning to her own district, she had collected all the 
women, and told them all she had learnt, and so interested theiix 
in the subject, that a large number had agreed to renounce heathen 
worship. They built a leaf - hut for their church ; and here tlie 
teacher from Amoa occasionally came to conduct service. At other 
times the chiefess herself did so, making frequent pilgrimages 
through the week to learn new lessons from the teacher, and re- 
turning to impart this wisdom to her companions. 

Thus, wuthin the short space of twenty moons, was Mr Williams 
allowed to see the beginning of an abiindant harvest, where he had 
but scattered the seed ; and a true grief saddened his heart when 
compelled to refuse the entreaties of chiefs and people that he 
would fetch his family and come to live and die among them, to 
teach them how to love Jesus Christ. But when he reminded 
them that there were eight isles in the group, and that he must 
return to England to fetch other teachers, they bade him God- 
speed, — only praying that he would hasten back, because assuredly 
many of them would be dead ere his return. 

This true apostle went on his way, carrying the light to many 
a region of darkness, till, in the year 1839, he reached the ill-fated 
shores of Eromanga, in the Xew Hebrides, which was the scene of 
his martyrdom. With his loved friend, James Harris, he had suc- 
ceeded in obtaining a friendly reception on the neighbouring isle 
of Tanna, and there left three Samoan teachers to begin Avork 
among its hideous savages. Twenty miles further lies Eromanga, 
whose people are the most hopeless cannibals of the Pacific. As 
the brave men landed on the inhospitable isle, a host of armed 
savages rushed out from the bushes in which they were concealed. 
In an instant both were clubbed, and the bodies of the grand 
apostle of the South Seas and his young disciple became food for 
the miserable cannibals whom they longed to reclaim. It was the 
usual tale of revenge. These Eromangans had, shortly before, 
been cruelly ill-treated by a party of sandal-wood traders, who 
wantonly killed several natives on their attempting to defend their 
Avomen, and to save their plantations from indiscriminate plunder. 
Xaturally enough, these poor savages, seeing another foreign boat 

140 A lady's cruise. 

land at the same spot as tlieir enemies had done, failed to dis- 
criminate friend from foe. 

It is impossible to overstate the amount of hindrance to mission 
work and to all civilising influences which has been occasioned by 
the lawless proceedings of unprincipled white men, too many of 
whom have proved themselves truly white barbarians. In their 
greedy craving for gain, they have so thoroughly quenched every 
spark of justice and honour in their dealings with the dark-skinned 
races, that on some of the Papuan Isles, the name by which the 
natives describe a white man means literally " a sailing profligate." 

The vessels employed in the labour trade — i.e., in " engaging " 
or securing men to work on plantations in Fiji or Australia — were 
l)y no means the only culprits, though the horrible cruelties prac- 
tised by many of these in former years have been a disgrace to 
humanity. ISTearly as much harm was done by men engaged in 
the sandal-wood trade, who gloried in defrauding the natives by 
every means in their power — promising certain articles in exchange 
for a given amount of sandal-wood, and on its receipt sailing away, 
to be no more heard of. Or perhaps they inveigled a chief on 
board, and there kept him as a hostage till his people brought large 
quantities of sandal-wood as his ransom; and having secured all 
they could get at that particular isle, they still refused to give up 
the chief — probably secured some of his followers, and carried 
them to another isle, where they forced them to work for months 
in cutting the coveted wood, and finally sold them to the natives, 
in exchange for yams and pigs — a man fetching from five to ten 
live pigs, according to his size. It is almost needless to say that 
the hostile natives merely purchased the strangers as food for the 
cannibal oven. Occasionally some of these unfortunates contrived 
to escape, and got on board whaling-ships, where they were kindly 
treated, and some were even taken back to their own isles. There 
were ships which fired unscrupulously on any village which failed 
to bring them sandal-wood. On one occasion three vessels engaged 
in this trade anchored off one of the New Hebrides. Their men 
plundered the yam-gardens and stole all the pigs, numbering 
several hundreds. Of course the owners resisted, and were 


ruthlessly shot. Finally, many took refuge in a cave, when tlie 
white barbarians proceeded to pull down the houses and heap up 
the dry thatch and rafters at the mouth of the cave as fuel for a 
great bonfire. Of course all the inmates were suffocated. Such 
deeds as these, of course, led to reprisals; and Dr Turner says 
that, to his own knowledge, upwards of 320 men engaged in the 
sandal- wood traffic perished between the years 1839 and 1848. 
Such facts as these should be borne in mind, as affording the clue 
to many an unprovoked outrage by brown men on white. The 
tradition of past wrongs lingers long in savage races. 

Within a year of John Williams's murder, the Eev. George 
Turner and Rev. H. Nisbet attempted to commence work in the 
same field, but found it impossible. Even while they Avere 
struggling to maintain their position on the isle of Tanna, a 
whaling-ship touched there for water, and her men immediately 
fell to quarrelling with the natives, whereupon the vessel weighed 
anchor and sailed along the coast, firing promiscuously into all the 
villages she passed. There would not have been much cause for 
wonder if the savages (who had seen Mr Turner directing these 
men where to find water) had at once turned on him and his com- 
panions and murdered them all. As it was, they continued to 
brave the perils of their position for some months ere they were 
compelled to fly. 

When Mr Turner revisited Eromanga in 1859, the Eev. 

Gordon, who was then settled there, told them that a few months 
previously another sandal-wood trader had got into serious trouble, 
and three of his men had been killed by the natives ; but he him- 
self acknowledged that they had earned their fate. On that occa- 
sion the Eromangans had the discrimination to spare the righteous ; 
but not long afterwards Mr Gordon and his W"ife were cruelly 

Eleven years passed, when a message reached the Eev. J. D. 
Gordon (brother of the above) praying him to come and heal some 
sick children at Eromanga. As a medical missionary he at once 
complied, only to hear on his arrival that the children were dead ; 
and their father could find no solace for his blind, ungrateful 

142 A lady's cruise. 

grief, but to slay the raediciuc-man who liad arrived too late. One 
blow from his toinaliawk added yet another to the grievous list of 
the martyrs of Eromanga. 

At the mission station at Apia, on the isle of Upolu, on the 
very spot where John Williams first landed in Samoa, and 
where he stood to bid what proved to be his last farewell to the 
people — two graves lying side by side contain some bones brought 
to Samoa in 1840 by H.M.S. Favourite, in the belief that they 
were those of the martyrs. It is now, however, known that they 
were bones taken at random by the natives* from a cave where 
they are wont to deposit their own dead, under the impression 
that the foreign ship wished to purchase human bones. The skull 
of John Williams is buried beneath a palm-tree on Eromanga, 
■which is doubtless as quiet a resting-place as a foreign grave in 
turbulent Apia. ISTear it, was buried a small bit of red sealing- 
wax, about an inch and a half in length, which was found by the 
natives in his pocket, and supposed to be a foreign idol. This 
relic was afterwards disinterred and sent home to his children. 

I think the attempt to recover the remains of the dead from 
their savage murderers is at best very unsatisfactory. We had a 
fair example of it in Fiji, where great efforts were made to recover 

the bones of the Eev. Baker, who was there killed and eaten. 

So successful was this endeavour that one mission station alone 
has received three skulls, all positively declared to be his ! 

While both the London Mission and the Wesleyans have done 
such excellent work in Samoa, it is to be regretted that a corner 
of rivalry should have contrived to creep in — a rootlet of bitter- 
ness — not very serious perhaps, but still a corner of contention. 
It appears that at the time when Mr Williams first landed in 
Samoa, in 1830, several native teachers from the Wesleyan Mission 
in Tonga had already begun to work there, and the promise of 
white teachers had already been made to expectant congregations. 
When, therefore, in 1835, the Eev. Eeter Turner, of the Wesleyan 
Mission, reached the isle of Manono, he was received with open 
arms by a zealous flock ; and when, shortly afterwards, he travelled 
round the isles of Savaii and Upolu, he found more than 2000 


persons who were members of tlie Tonga lutu, and 40 persons v.'lio 
were acting as teachers. 

At that time the Tahiti lotu — i.e., the Loudon Mission — was 
only represented by five or six Tahitian teachers, who were located 
at certain towns, and confined their labours to their immediate 
neighbourhood. On Mr Turner's arrival he commenced diligently 
seeking the people in all parts of the isles, with such marked re- 
sult that within twenty months upwards of 13,000 persons had 
joined the Tonga lotu. 

The "NVesleyans specially note that Mr Turner Avas the first 
resident white missionary in Samoa. Some months after his 
arrival came a trading ship, which' brought Mr Pratt, as represent- 
ative of the London jMission ; and in 1836, six missionaries of the 
London Society arrived and held a public meeting in the Tahitian 
chapel at Manono, when it was clearly proved that a considerable 
number of Samoans had adopted the Tonga lotu before the arrival 
of Mr Williams, though they only met for worship quietly in their 
own homes. The Tahitian teachers were the first who began to 
conduct public services, but their adherents were found to be 
numerically fewer than those of the Tongans. 

Stress is laid on these details, because it was alleged by the 
London Mission that Messrs N. Turner and Cross had agreed 
with Mr Williams to devote their efforts to the Fijian group, and 
leave the JS'avigator's Isles to the London Mission. Messrs Turner 
and Cross, on the other hand, entirely repudiate any such compact, 
and state that the first they heard of it was when the London 
missionaries arrived in Samoa, where their agent was already estab- 
lished, in accordance with tlieir promise to the friendly chiefs. 

As neither party were inclined to yield, both missions continued 
to work simultaneously, each acknowledging the good work done 
by the other, yet regretting the division, which might so easily 
have been avoided. However, it has been a sacrifice of uniformity 
rather than of unity ; and I suppose the Church militant must 
always be made up of divers regiments. 

I believe the London Mission has at present seven congrega- 
tional ministers in Samoa, and seventy-five native teachers. Their 

114 A lady's chuise. 

nominal adherents number about 30,000. The Australasian Wes- 
leyan Mission has two white missionaries and one native minister. 
These superintend the work of 50 teachers and 85 local preachers. 
There are 47 chapels, with 1200 church members, and congrega- 
tions numbering altogether about 5000. 

The Roman Catholics number about 4000. 

As has been the case throughout Polynesia, many of the new 
converts have become earnest missionaries ; and not only have 
several Samoan teachers found their Avay to Fiji, but when in its 
turn the infant Church in that group determined to commence a 
mission among the savage races of New Britain, two Samoan 
teachers volunteered to accompany their Fijian brethren on this 
noble but dangerous enterprise. Others have gone to settle in the 
very uninviting Gilbert and Kingsmill groups, close to the equator, 
amongst hideous tribes of the lowest type, whose barren isles fail 
to yield any manner of crop ; so that for lack of better diet, the 
unpalatable fruit of the pandanus, which in Samoa is only used 
for stringing into necklaces, is accounted an important item of 
food. For love of these poor souls these self-denying men give up 
their own most lovely homes, and bid a lifelong farewell to parents 
and kindred. Many a bitter scene has been enacted on these 
shores, when aged relatives, clinging to these dear ones with all 
the demonstrative love of the warm southern temperament, follow 
the mission-boat as it pushes off, and wade up to the shoulders, 
weeping and wailing for those who may never come back to them, 
and knowing full well how many have already fallen in the hard- 
fought battle. Certainly these Samoan teachers have given good 
proof of their zeal and willingness to endure hardship, as good 
soldiers of the Cross. 


We are so much in the habit of considering this strange worship of 
representative animals, in connection with the simple superstitions of 
such utterly uncivilised races as these poor savages of the Pacific Isles, or 

ETU-WORSniP. 145 

the Indian tribes of America, tliat it is startling to recollect how large a 
place it held in the intricate mythology of so wise and learned a people 
as the ancient Egj'ptians, who not only excelled in all arts of peace and 
war, but seem to have mastered many of those mysteries of science which 
still perplex the learned men of the nineteenth century. Long ere the 
Greeks and Israelites had learnt their earliest lessons from the sages 
from Egypt, and while Eome was but a village of mud-huts, the banks 
of the Nile were graced with buildings, which, in their stately beauty, 
rivalled the marvels of Babel. Prominent among these was the temple 
of the sacred bull Mnevis. The patron god of Memphis was the golden 
bull Apis, to whom pure white bulls were sacrificed ; while in his hon- 
our jet-black bulls were worshipped during life, and after death were 
embalmed, and preserved in sarcophagi of polished black basalt. Only 
their bones were preserved, swathed in linen, and tied up so as to resem- 
ble an animal lying down. A full-grown bull thus prepared was no 
bigger than a calf, while a calf was the size of a dog. Thirty-three of 
these sacred bull-mummies were found in the catacombs, each in its own 

Other catacombs were entirely devoted to the mummies of sacred dogs 
and cats, beetles and mice, hawks and ibis, each neatly strapped up in 
linen and sealed up in a red earthenware jar. These are found packed 
like the contents of some vast wine-cellar — tier behind tier, and in layers 
reaching to the roof of the catacombs, some of which are large caves, 
■with endless ramifications ; yet chamber after chamber of these vast 
storehouses are all alike closely packed with this vast multitude of 
mummy-jars, accumulated by countless generations of reverent wor- 

Strangest of all these sepulchres of sacred creatures, are the crocodile 
mummy-pits, in which are stored a vast assemblage of crocodiles of all 
sizes, from the patriarch measuring twelve or fourteen feet in length, to 
the poor baby only five inches long, each wrapped up in palm-leaves. 
Thousands of these little demigods, about eighteen inches long, are tied 
together in bundles of eight or ten, and swathed in coarse cloth. True 
believers in the crocodile-headed god Savak, kept these creatures tame in 
a great crocodile city near the artificial lake Mceris, Avhere they were fed 
with cake and roast meat, washed do'wn by draughts of mulled wine ; their 
fore-feet were adorned with golden bracelets, and their ears were pierced 
and enriched with precious gems. But the worshippers had to figlit the 
battles of their gods against various irreverent neighbours, notably 
against the people of Elephantine, who, so far from worshipping the 
crocodile, considered it a dainty dish, to be eaten as often as it could be 

So well known to their contemporaries was this Egyptian reverence 



for certain birds, beasts, and insects, that on at least one occasion it 
proved a valuable aid to their foes, as when Cambyses captured a city, 
by forming a vanguard of all manner of animals — cats and dogs, bulls 
and goats — assured that one or other must be held sacred by the 
besieged ; and so it proved, for the latter dared not throw a dart lest 
they should injure their " bleating gods." 

Each of these had their especial sacred city, where their precious 
remains were embalmed and their mummies stored. Dogs and ichneu- 
mons might indeed be buried in their own cities, but hawks and shrew- 
mice were generally conveyed to Buto, and ibises 1x) Hermopolis. 
Onupliis was the city specially dedicated to the worship of the asp ; but 
all manner of serpents were worshipped in gorgeous temples over the 
length and breadth of the land, and the reptiles were fed with flour and 
honey by their appointed priests, and their bodies eventually embalmed 
with all possible reverence. Cat-mummies were stored in the sacred city 
of Bubastis ; goats at Mendes ; wolves were preserved in pits near Sioux ; 
while the ram, sacred to the sun, was worshipped at I'hebes, the sun city. 

The death of a cat was considered so dire a misfortune, that if a house 
Avere to take fire the Egyptians would let it burn to the ground, if only 
they could rescue the cats, which, however, had an awkward trick of 
jumping into the flames. Should one of these perish, all the inmates of 
the house shaved their eyebrows. Should a dog die, the head and beard 
were also shaved. Each species of animal had its appointed guardians 
to feed and tend them, the oflice being hereditary. A heavy fine attended 
any accident which befell these precious creatures ; and should one 
perish through carelessness, the life of the keeper was forfeit, more 
especially if the \dctim were an ibis or a hawk, for whose death tliere 
was no forgiveness. 

The hawk, whose piercing eye can so fearlessly gaze upon the sun, was 
the special tj'pe of that great source of light. It was worshipped in 
Heliopolis and the other sun temples, where living birds were kept in 
cages, and pictures of sacred hawks, seated amidst lotus-plants, adorned 
the walls. With such reverence were they treated, that when the 
Egyptian hosts went forth to battle, they carried their hawks with their 
armies ; and should some chance to die in foreign lands, their bodies 
were embalmed, and brought to Egypt to be buried in consecrated tombs. 
Thus numerous hawk-mummies have been discovered at Thebes and 

Hence it would appear that each of these creatures was the totem, or 
representative animal of some tribe, which bestowed thereon all due 
veneration in life and in death. Probably the totem of one tribe would 
receive no honour from the next. Hence the battles already alluded to 
between the cities which worshipped crocodiles and those which ate 


them ! and the still more deadly civil wars that raged between the 
worshippers of the Oxyrinchus fish and the dog-worshippers of Cyno- 
polis, when the latter were guilty of fishing in the Nile, and not only 
capturing the holy fish, but also eating them. 

No salmon commissioners could be more wrathful at the wilful 
destruction of salmon-fry than were these fish-adoring Egyptians when 
tidings of the crime reached their city. Swift vengeance followed ; for 
the deified dogs, worshipped by the gluttonous offenders, were caught and 
sacrificed to appease the wrath of the fish-gods, their flesh affording a 
delicious feast for the priests. This of course led to a prolonged civil 
war, and the sacking of towns and bloodshed were only checked by the 
arrival of the Roman legions, who punished both parties, and reduced 
them to order. Such wars continued from time to time, even so late as 
the fourth century after Christ, by which time, however, various cities 
(notably that of Oxyrinchus) had adopted the new fiiith, and the cells 
set apart for sacred animals were tenanted by the monks. 

If we follow out this subject, it may perhaps bring us nearer home 
than we imagine ; for just as the Australian blacks are divided into 
clans bearing the name of the animal, or even the plant, from which they 
believe themselves to be descended, and which they must on no account 
eat or gather — and are thus known as "The Black Snakes," "The 
Swans," " The Turtles," " The Kangaroos," &c., — so our antiquarians tell 
us, that many of our tattooed or painted Anglo-Saxon ancestors bore the 
names of animals or plants, which doubtless were in truth the totem of 
their family. Thus the Bercings and Thornings traced their descent from 
the birch and thorn, and the Bookings from the beech ; and the homes 
of these families still bear such names as Booking, Birchington, and 
Thornington. Elmington and Oakington are supposed to have been 
peopled by sons of the elm and of the oak ; while Ashendon recalls the 
Ashings or ^scings, who bore the name of the sacred ash-tree ; and the 
Fearnings of Farningham were supposed to descend from a humble fern. 

Buckingham and Berrington are said to have derived their names from 
the Buccings and Berings, sons of the buck and of the bear ; while the 
followers of the wolf did him honour by bestowing on their children 
such names as Wulfing, Eadwulf, Beowulf, or Ethelwulf. The sacred 
white horse (whose image remains to this day on the downs of Westbury 
and Wantage, as clearly defined as when first our Saxon ancestors scraped 
the green grass from off the chalk hillside) was the symbol reverenced by 
all Aryan races, and Hengest and Horsa, the leaders of the early English, 
bore names which entitled them to command their fellows. They have 
left their mark in such territorial names as Hengestesdun, Horstead, 
Horsington, and many more. The Otterings of Otterington owed allegi- 
ance to the otter. 


The snake was as mucli revered in Britain as in all other corners of 
the world, and no disrespect was implied in describing him as a worm. 
Hence the family of Wyrmings, and such geographical traces as Worm- 
ington, Wormingford, and even Ormskirk and Great Orm's (or Worm's) 
Head. The Earnings were adherents of the earn or eagle ; the Everings 
or Eoferings of Eofer, the wild boar, whose home was at Eversley. Rav- 
eningham and Cockington are said to bear the name of the old lords of 
tlie soil, the sons of the raven and of the cock ; while the Fincings of 
Finchingfield and the Thryscings of Thrushington, are said to represent 
the families who adopted the Tlirush and the Finch as their totem. 

Altogether there appears good reason to infer that the reverence for 
birds and beasts, fishes and reptiles, which excites our compassionate 
wonder in reading of poor untutored savages, such as these Samoans, was 
once a powerful influence in our own British Isles.^ 



H.B.M. Consulate, Apia, 
Sunday Evening, ZOth September. 

It is finally settled that I am really going on to Tahiti. From 
what I have told you, you can fully understand that Samoa would 
not be an inviting place in which to lie stranded for an unlimited 
period ; and though I, individually, have received the greatest pos- 
sible kindness from many of the foreign residents, and from the 
Samoan chiefs of both parties, still the whole atmosphere is tainted 
with lies and the strivings of self-interest, and is altogether un- 
wholesome. So I have definitely accepted the invitation so repeat- 
edly and heartily given, and to-morrow I am to return on board the 

1 See an interesting article on the origin of clan names in Britain, ' Cornhill 
Magazine, ' September 1881 — " Old English Ulaus." 


I have just received letters from some, and messages from all on 
board, expressing cordial pleasure at my decision, especially from 
M. de Gironde, whose cabin I occupy ; so I really feel that I shall 
be a welcome guest. 

The great difficulty will lie beyond Tahiti, but I must e'en trust 
to my luck. 

It is also decided that the bishop is to proceed at once to France, 
both on Church business and for medical advice. It is a good 
thing that he is so soon to leave this place, where he is terribly 
worried by the attempt to reconcile so many conflicting interests. 
He looks much worse than when we arrived.^ 

This morning he officiated at High Mass ; and all the men and 
officers of the Seignelay attended in full uniform. The service was 
choral, and of course the church was crowded. I passed it on my 
way to a very small Congregational chapel, where Dr Turner con- 
ducted an English service. We met numbers of people on their 
way to the Protestant native churches ; and I was amused to observe 
how many carried their Bibles neatly folded up in a piece of white 

1 It is hard to have to think of that tender and loving heart as of a mere material 
relic. Yet, as the heart of the Bruce, enshrined in its golden casket, was carried 
by his true knight to that Holy Land which his feet might never tread, so has the 
heart of this saintly prelate — the first BishoiJ of Samoa— been borne by his faithful 
followers, to find its resting-place in the church where for so many years he pleaded 
for, and with, his people. 

It was brought from France by Thre Lamaze, now consecrated Bishop of the 
Isles. The heart is enclosed in a glass urn, with an outer case of gold, orna- 
mented with precious stones, and supported by four angels. On the lid of this 
reliquary is a representation of a bishop appearing before the judgment-seat of our 

On reaching Samoa, the casket was deposited at Vaea, while preparations for its 
reception were made at Apia. On the 24th May 1881, about six hundred Catholics 
assembled at sunrise at the church at Vaea, to pay a last tribute of respect and 
devotion to their loved bishop ; then forming in solemn procession, they moved 
towards Apia. The children from the convent school at Savalalo walked first, fol- 
lowed by their teachers ; next the Catholics of Apia and the surrounding districts. 
These were followed by the clergy, four of whom acted as pall-bearers, while four 
others carried the heart. Last of all came the Catholic chiefs, the catechists of 
Vaea College, and the natives residing at the mission-house at Apia. 

On reaching the church, a sermon was preached by Bishop Lamaze, and the heart 
was then deposited in a niche in the wall, there to remain enshrined, as a perpetual 
memorial to the people of Samoa of the earnest and noble life that was spent iu 
striving to exemplify the holiness he preached. 


tai^pa ; just as an old wife in Scotland would wrap hers in a white 
liandkerchief ! 

In the afternoon my hostess accompanied me to the convent, 
where the children sang prettily while we sat in the pleasant gar- 
den. The sisters bade me good-bye quite sadly. " It has been 
des adieux all day," said one. 

Ox Board Le Skionelay, 
Monday, 1st October. 

M. de Gironde came at daybreak to escort me on board. All 
the Puletoa chiefs crowded round to say good-bye — and I ran down 
the garden for a last word with their " orator," a fine young fellow, 
who was nursing his new-born baby in the large native house. His 
wife is such a nice pretty young woman. I felt quite sorry to leave 
them all, not knowing what may be the next tidings of woe. We 
know that war may be renewed at any moment.^ 

SaUirday, eth Octoher 1877. 
(Tossing a good deal.) 

With a dreary waste of grey waters on every side of us, and no 

^ The following paragraph is from a recent Hawaiian Gazette, showing the course 
of events in Samoa : — 

" We learn, through the courtesy of Lieutenant Abbot of the Lackawanna, some 
interesting particulars in relation to the political condition of the Samoan archi- 
pelago. The chief Malietoa, whose name is identified with the sovereignty of 
Samoa, is dead, and his nephew and namesake has succeeded to his political 
authority and state ; but a rival chief, Kepua Tomisasu, has been contesting the 
succession, and previous to the arrival of the Lackawanna there had been a series of 
desultory semi-barbarous war campaigns — not resulting in any decisive action or 
notable slaughter of men, but causing widespread ruin, robbery, and unrest. The 
American commander Gillis now presented his good offices in the way of reconcilia- 
tion, and to establish between rival chiefs and peoples of the same land a more 
harmonious and patriotic spirit. And we are happy to say that, after many baffling 
discussions, a political unity and harmony on Samoa have been effected — Malietoa 
II. being proclaimed King of Samoa, and his rival, Kepua, the Premier of Samoa, 
■with an authority on public questions somewhat like our former Kuhina Nui. 

"The Samoan warriors have all dispersed and returned to peaceful pursuits. 
The terms of peace were drawn up and signed on board the Lackawanna in the 
harbour of Apia, and a royal salute of 21 guns was fired from the vessel in honour 
of the event. 

" We are glad to recognise that in this instance the commander of an American 
man-of-war intervenes solely as a peacemaker, and to promote the best welfare of a 
Volynesian people." 


trace of land save two inquisitive boobies, wbicb have for some 
hours been flying round us, it is hard to realise that to-morrow we 
are to enter the far-famed harbour of Papeete, and that by this time 
to-morrow evening we shall be ashore, listening to the himenes of 
the multitude assembled for the great feast which begins the next 
day — a great feast, by the wa}' — held in honour of the anniversary 
of the Protectorate ! I wonder hoAV poor old Queen Pomare likes it ! 

\ye left Samoa on Monday, 1st October, and the next day was 
also called Monday, October 1st, to square the almanacs, so that we 
can say we had done the 1700 miles in just a week. The weather 
has been considerably against us, but extra steam was put on to 
insure catching this mail, as great stress is evidently laid on not 
losing a day in reporting the proceedings at Samoa to the Home 
Government. The amount of reports written since we started has 
been something prodigious ! . . . 

"What with all this writing going on, and the extra motion of the 
vessel from travelling at such unwonted speed, life has not been so 
tranquilly pleasant as in the previous weeks. I have had quite to 
give up my cosy studios on the big gun-carriage, or my quiet corner 
of the bridge. Instead of these, I have found a place of refuge and 
a hearty welcome in le carre (the gun-room), which does not dance 
so actively as the captain's cabin, over the screw. In it at this 
moment a select set are either reading or writing their home letters, 
ready for the 'Frisco ^ mail, which is supposed to sail from Tahiti 
on Monday morning. . . . 

(At this point, a wave breaking over the ship, trickled down on 
my head through the skylight. Hence the smudge. I Avonder how 
you would write with the table alternately knocking your nose and 
then rolling you over to the opposite side of the cabin ! ) 

Every creature on board is rejoicing at the prospect of returning 
to the Tahitian Elysium. To me this has been a dream ever since 
my nursery days, when the big illustrated volumes of old voyages 
that lay in my father's dressing-room were the joy of many a happy 
hour, combined with such sticks of barley-sugar as I can never find 
at any confectioner's nowadays ! Tliere we first read the romantic 
1 Colonial abbreviation for Sau Francisco. 

152 A lady's cruise. 

st.ory of how Captain Cook discovered those isles of beauty, and 
named them after the " Eoyal Society " which had sent him to 
explore these unknown seas. The Tahiti of to-day is doubtless a 
very different place from the Otaheite of 1774. 

Of course, in a highly organised French colony much of the old 
romance must have passed away with its dangers. But the natural 
loveliness of the isle cannot have changed, and I look forward with 
great delight to seeing it all. 

Every one speaks in the highest terms of Mr j\Iiller, our long- 
established English consul, and his charming Peruvian wife (so 
•Lord Pembroke describes her). Both are intimate friends of Cap- 
tain Aube and the bishop, who will commit me to their care on 
arriving. I have also an excellent introduction to Mr Green, the 
head of the London Mission ; and M. Vernier, of the French Pro- 
testant Mission, was once for some months at Inveraray. I hear 
golden opinions both of Mrs Green and Mme. Vernier, and of M. 
and Mme. Viennot, of the same mission. So amongst them all, I 
have no doubt that I shall be all right. 

But I cannot quite forget what a hideous future lies beyond. 
The total distance I have travelled in this large comfortable steamer, 
from Fiji to Tahiti, including trips from isle to isle, has been 2985 
miles. From Tahiti (after this good shrp-has sped on her way to 
A'alparaiso) there remain two courses before me — either to go to 
Kew Zealand, 3000 miles, or to Honolulu, 3200 miles, — in either 
case in a small sailing vessel, starting at some uncertain period. 
There is a monthly mail to San Francisco, but that is only a 
schooner of about 120 tons; and via San Francisco would be 
rather a circuitous route to Sydney ! where I expect to meet Lady 
Gordon somewhere about Christmas. It is a hideous prospect, but 
I have too much faith in my luck to be deeply concerned about it. 
The worst of it all is, that I cannot possibly receive any letters till 
I arrive in Sydney, which may, I fear, be some time hence. 

As my wardrobe will by that time be considerably the worse for 
wear, you will do well to send out a box of sundry garments to 
await my arrival, otherwise I shall be reduced to appearing in a 
graceful drapery of tappa, with fringes of crimson dractena leaves; 


but though the dress of Oceania is very becoming to the young 
and beautiful, the world of Sydney is hardly up to it, — and be- 
sides, I fear it would be scarcely suitable for old grand-aunts 
[presque grancVmere), as one of ray French friends put it yester- 
day ! It certainly is rather a shame to let you have all this 
trouble, while I have the fun of exploring sucli strange lands ; but 
it is a sort of division of labour, whereby you pay your tax to the 
family locomotive demon, who drives all the rest of us so hard, 
but leaves you in peace in Britain, to do your share of wandering 
by deputy. 

j^ow, as it is getting late, I must turn in, as I want to be up at 
grey dawn to see beautiful Moorea (the Eimeo of our childhood), 
and we shall sail close past it, as we make Papeete harbour. So 

In Harbour, Papeete, Tahiti, 
Sunday Morning, 7th Oct. 

"Well, we have reached Tahiti, but really I am beginning to fear 
tbat, like most things to which we have long looked forward, this 
is likely to prove disappointing. We came in this morning in a 
howling storm, im gros coup de vent, and everything looked dismal. 
Though we coasted all along Moorea, the envious clouds capped 
the whole isle, only showing a peak here and there. Certainly 
such glimpses as we did catch were weirdly grand ; huge basaltic 
jjinnacles of most fantastic shape towering from out the sea of 
billowy white clouds, Avhich drifted along those black crags. And 
below the cloud canopy lay deep ravines, smothered in densest 
foliage, extending right down to the grey dismal sea, which broke 
in thunder on the reef. "With strong wind and tide against us as 
we crossed from Moorea to Tahiti, you can fancy what a relief it 
was when, passing by a narrow opening through the barrier-reef, 
we left the great tossing waves outside, and found ourselves in this 
calm harbour, which to-day is sullen and grey as a mountain-tarn. 
At first we could see literally nothing of the land ; but it is now a 
little clearer, and through the murky mist we see a fine massive 
mountain rising above a great gorge beyond the town. But in 

154 A lady's cruise. 

general effect of beauty this is certainly not equal to Ovalau, and 
even the toAvn looks little better than Levuka,^ though it is 
certainly more poetic, the houses being all smothered in foliage. 
Eut then it is fine-weather foliage — all hybiscus and bread-fruit, — 
the former, of that very blue-green tint, Avhich in rain looks as grey 
as an olive-grove ; while each glossy leaf of the bread-fruit is a 
mirror, which exactly reflects the condition of the weather — glanc- 
ing bright in sunlight, but to-day only rej)eating the dull hue of 
the leaden clouds. 

For indeed it is a dreary grey day, sea and sky alike dull and 
colourless, all in keeping with the sad news with which the pilot 
greeted us as he came on board — namely, that Queen Pomare died 
a fortnight ago (on the 17th September); so we have just missed 
seeing the good old queen of my infantile romantic visions. Her 
eldest son. Prince Ariiaue, has been proclaimed king under the 
hereditary name, and is henceforth to be known as Pomare V. 

But the people are all in deepest dule, and instead of the great 
rejoicings and balls, and himenes, and varied delights of the fete 
Napoleon (or rather its republican substitute, the anniversary of 
the Protectorate), on the 9th October, for which we had expected to 
find joyoi:s crowds assembled — always ready for an excuse for 
music and dancing — a festival to which my friends have been 
looking forward all the voyage, — instead of this, we see the 
crowds pouring out of the native church, all dressed in tlie deepest 
mourning, from their crape - trimmed black hats, to their black 
flowing robes, which are worn from the throat, and with sleeves 
down to the wrist ; they trail on the ground in sweeping trains, 
and are so long in front that even the bare feet are covered. 

There are no flowers, no fragrant AVTeaths, no arrowroot crowns, 
no snowy plumes of reva-reva — even the beautiful raven-tresses of 
the women have all been cut off. This is mourning with a ven- 
geance; and the Court circular has commanded that the whole 
nation shall wear the garb of woe for six months. I do hope that 
at least the commoners will disobey this injunction ! At present 
all the men appear like black crows. Apparently many are dis- 
1 Capital of Fiji. 


figured by foreign dress-coats ; and even those wlio retain the 
national j)areo (which is the Tahitian word for sulu or Avaist-cloth) 
are wearing black tappa or black calico ; and their heads are closely 
cropped. So sadly disfiguring ! and so terribly subversive of all 
our preconceived visions of Papeete, as the very ideal of light, and 
mirth, and soft sunlit colour. 

The even tenor of life in Tahiti has received several startling 
shocks since the 24th August, when the French Admiral Serre ar- 
rived here in the steam- frigate Magicienne, bringing the new gover- 
nor, ]\I. Brunnet Millet. But, sad to say, Madame Brunnet INIillet 
died on the voyage from sheer sea-sickness ; and her poor husband, 
who adored her, became positively imbecile from grief, so that he 
had to resign office immediately on his arrival. 

His natural successor would have been M. La Barbe, who, how- 
ever, had made himself generally obnoxious to the Tahitians, and 
to the queen in particular, by the injudiciously severe penalties 
which he enforced for some of her son's peccadilloes. She there- 
fore wrote to the admiral to say that if La Barbe became governor, 
she would at once leave Tahiti and retire to Moorea, thus leaving 
all business at a dead-lock. Thereupon the admiral promised that 
her will should be respected, and announced that he would himself 
assume the office of governor, till such time as a fresh appointment 
could be made in Paris. La Barbe remonstrated. The admiral 
bade him be silent. He persisted, and was immediately placed 
under arrest for fourteen days, at the end of which time his sword 
was returned to him, and he had to put it on, and go to thank the 
admiral formally for his goodness in restoring it ! But as hi? 
presence in the Isles would thenceforth have been unpleasant, he 
and his wife and grown-up son, together with M. Brunnet Millet, 
have been shipped as passengers on board La Loire, which is now 
lying alongside of us, on the eve of sailing for France. She is a 
great big line-of-battle ship, transformed into a transport, for the 
conveyance of convicts from France to New Caledonia, but returns 
comparatively empty. So far, her passenger list does not sound 
cheerful ! 

The moment we reached our moorings, a boat was despatched in 

156 A lady's cruise. 

hot liaste to convey to the admiral the despatches concerning the 
little episode in Samoa. I fear our kind captain is not free from 
misgivings as to the light in -which that unlucky business may be 
viewed by his superior officer, 

H.B.M. Consulate, Papeete, 

Sunday Eoening. 

Alas ! alas ! the wretched Samoan adventure has indeed ended 
most lamentably. The admiral, who from all accounts is a very 
severe stern man, had no sooner read Captain Aube's report, than 
he signalled for him to go on board La !Magicienne, and informed 
him, that as he was quite incapable of understanding his line of 
action at Samoa, the only thing he could do was to send him back 
to France, as a passenger in La Loire, that he might himself ex- 
plain his motives at headquarters ; -^ in short, he removed him from 
his command of the Seignelay. 

Ten minutes later, the fine old sailor returned on board the vessel 
that was no longer his, to announce this dreadful news to his 
officers, on whom the blow fell like a thunderbolt. For, as I have 
told you, they have all lived together on the most cordial terms ; 
and no family, losing a dearly loved father, could be more utterly 
wretched than are all on board, both officers and men. Many 
fairly broke down ; and I am sure I do not wonder, for it is a 
lamentable break-up of such a happy ship-family. AVhat a houle- 
versement of all the pleasant pictures we were conjuring up only 
last night ! Certainly this is a very heavy penalty for what was, 
at the worst, an error in judgment. 

The regret on shore is almost as great as on the vessel ; for 
Commandant Aube is Avell known here, and exceedingly popular 
with all the foreign residents, who had hoped that he would be 
appointed Governor of Tahiti. This is a grievous ending to our 
delightful voyage, and I need not tell you how doAvnliearted I feel 
about it all. I could almost wish that we had never gone near 
miserable Samoa, with all its jars and hatreds. 

^ An explanation which resulted in the complete exonerati'on of Captain Aube, 
and his appointment to the command of La Savoie,— a finer vessel than that from 
which he had been so summarily dismissed. 


I must close this letter, as the little mail-scliooner iN'autilus sails 
for San Francisco in the morning, taking as passengers Monseig- 
neur Elloi and M. Pinart. They hope to be able so to represent 
}uatters at "Washington and in Paris as to put the Samoan episode 
in the best possible light. 

I grieve to say the bishop is very ill ; all these worries are very 
trying to him, and he loses ground daily. The prospect of so long 
a voyage in a little schooner of about 200 tons, with very mixed 
society, is anything but pleasant for an invalid, and a trying change 
from the comforts of the big ship. The actual distance is 4000 
miles, and the voyage may be made in twenty-five days. But with 
contrary Avinds, the distance is sometimes increased to 6000 miles, 
and the voyage occupies six weeks ! So I cannot tell at what date 
this letter will reach you. — Good-bye.-^ 

Chez THE Rev. James Green, 
LoiTDON Mission, 9th Oct. 

To-day has concluded the tragedy. Last night (after a farewell 
dinner with his officers, and a few touching last words to his men, 
who wept bitterly, sobbing aloud like cliildren, and who cheered 
him lustily as he left the ship) Commandant Aube came ashore to 
take leave of his friends here, and at the British consulate. He 
was accompanied by his faithful dog, Fox, a poor sickly hound, on 
whom he has lavished infinite care and kindness throughout the 
voyage, but which he will leave here in charge of a Tahitian ; so 
he starts on this sad voyage without even his dog as a companion. 
We escorted him to the shore, and sorrowfully watched his boat 
making for La Loire, the old line-of-battle ship, Avhich sailed this 
morning with so sad a company. The poor Seignelay had the 
odious task of towing her out of harbour; and, as the ships parted, 
all the men burst into uncontrollable shouts of " Vive notre com- 
mandant ! " — a spontaneous demonstration, which must have been 
more satisfactory to its hero than to the stern admiral 

1 The good bishop had the satisfaction of reaching la belle France, and there 
effectually pleading the cause of his friend, ere he laid down the burden of lite, 
which he had borne with so much anxious care for the weal of his people. Ke 
died very shortly altur his return to Europe. 

158 A lady's cruise. 

Just then an accident happened, which might have proved very 
serious. La Loire accidentallj'' slipped a great tow-rope, which got 
entangled in the screw of the Seignelay ; and, misunderstanding the 
signal to lower sail, the ponderous old vessel nearly ran down the 
lighter steam-ship, which could neither work her screw nor answer 
to her helm, but had to hoist sail and run before the wind. Being 
unable to turn, she had to sail straight out to sea for some hours, 
far out of sight. 

I watched this inexplicable movement from the semaphore — a 
high station commanding a magnificent view of town and harbour, 
and of the distant isle of Moorea. The old sailor in charge was 
as much perplexed as myself. He decided that the Seignelay 
must have been despatched to the Marquesas or elsewhere, with 
secret orders ; while I decided that she must have " revolu- 
tioned," and gone off to France. However, this evening she re- 
turned, under sail, and was able to go to the assistance of a vessel 
that had drifted on to the reef ; so, on the whole, it was rather a 
fortunate episode, as it helped to distract the thoughts of all on 

Most of the residents here, bitterly as they regret the whole 
business, seem to agree that the admiral has really taken the wisest 
course, both as preventing (in the sense of prevenant) any possible 
remonstrance from England — in case she should espouse the cause 
of that very shady Anglo-American Fijian-Samoan house, Avith its 
convenient variety of flags — and perhaps, also, as saving M. Aube 
from harder judgment in France. But of course none of the 
officers can realise what a foolish episode that night's work appears 
to every one here. 

I have not yet told you anything of my own movements. 
On Sunday afternoon, M. de Gironde escorted me to the British 
consulate, there duly to report myself to Mr Miller, who for thirty 
years has been England's popular representative here ; indeed he 
has never left Tahiti since the day he first landed here, with his 
bright, sensible, little Peruvian bride. iSTow they have three 
grown-up sons, and a pleasant daughter, married to M. Fayzeau, 
a French naval officer, in charge of native affairs. He is a charm- 

A NOBLE TliEE. 109 

ing musician, and most graceful artist, and has promised to make 
my way easy for several sketching expeditions. 

I had not been an hour ashore, when (on the strength of a letter 
of introduction from Dr Turner of Malua) I received the very 
kindest invitation from Mr and Mrs Green to come and stay with 
them in this their lovely home, just out of the town, and close to 
the consulate — a delightful nest, embowered in mango and bread- 
fruit trees, with oleanders and hybiscus to lend colour to the whole. 
It is oidy separated from the sea by the pleasant garden and a belt 
of turf ; so there is nothing to impede the view of the beautiful 
harbour and blue peaks of Moorea, while the valley behind the 
house runs up to a background of fine hills, which all to-day have 
been bathed in soft sunlight — that clear shining that comes after 
On one side of the little lawn stands a noble old banyan-tree, 
from the very heart of which grows a tall cocoa-palm, — a curious 
tree-marriage, greatly admired by the people ; but in an evil hour 
an idiotic surveyor ascended this tree to take observations, and 
fastened a wire to the primary fronds, thereby of course cutting 
them, and so killing the palm, which now remains a poor dead 
monument of ignorant stupidity. The banyan suffers from an- 
other cause. The Tahitians believe that a decoction of its brown 
filaments and rootlets is a certain remedy for some forms of illness. 
They are therefore continually appealing to Mr Green for permis- 
sion to cut them ; and thus the growth of the tree is considerably 
checked. However, it covers a sufficient space to form a famous 
playground for the children, of whom there are a clieery little 
flock, though here, as in most remote colonies, the absence of all 
the elder ones forms the chief drawback to the happiness of their 
parents. But education in all its aspects has to be sought else- 
where than in beautiful Tahiti, by those who do not wish their 
families to become altogether insular; and my host and hostess 
retain far too loving memories of their own early homes in Wilt- 
shire and Devon to allow their children to grow up estranged from 
their English kinsfolk. 

This, like the majority of houses liere, is a wooden bungalow, 

160 A lady's cruise. 

one storey liigli, with verandah, on to -which all rooms alike open 
— by far the coolest and most suitable form of building for the 
tropics. But there are a number of two and three storeyed houses 
in the town, inhabited by French officials and foreign merchants — 
notably the French governor's house, and the unfinished " palace," 
which has been in slow progress for many years. 

At the former, Admiral Serre now holds the reins. Stern 
though lie be in public matters, he is wonderfully kind and 
pleasant socially, and seems to guide his iron hand with much 
wisdom in carrying out the course of action he has marked out 
for liimself. As you know, he had scarcely determined on taking 
the government into his own hands when Queen Pomare died 
quite suddenly, to the exceeding grief of her people. Great was 
their anxiety as to what course the French would now adopt, — the 
royal family being so much at sixes and sevens that there was very 
good reason to fear that even the semblance of the ancient rule 
would henceforth be dispensed with. 

Instead of this, the admiral devoted his whole energies to bring- 
ing together its various branches — healing their breaches, incul- 
cating sobriety (with marvellous success so far), and generally 
getting them into a satisfactory condition. Queen Pomare's two 
eldest sons, Ariiaue and Tamatoa, have been very naughty boys, 
in most respects. The former has married a very handsome girl, 
aged seventeen — Marau Salmon; but hitherto the marriage has 
not proved happy. Tamatoa was for a while King of Eaiatea; 
but was apt to carry on such dangerous games when he was drunk, 
that his subjects drove him out of the island. He is, however, 
very clever and amusing, and is blessed with an adoring wife — a 
very charming and excellent woman, as good as she is bonnie ; 
Moe is her pretty name. Queen Pomare's third son, Joinville, 
died leaving a son. The fourth, Tevii Tapunui, is a very good 
fellow, but sadly lame. 

Well, by dint of coaxing and reasoning, and by turns assuming 
the part of father and " governor," the admiral first of all persuaded 
Ariiaue and Marau to make up the peace, and then proclaimed 
them King and Queen as Pomare V. and Marau Poraare — a cere- 


mony of which 1 liave just read full particulars in the ' Messager 
de Tahiti,' which, under the heading, " Le prince royal Ariiaue est 
salu^ roi des lies de la Societe et dependances," gives a detailed 
account of the meeting of the Legislative Assembly of Tahiti, 
convened by " M. le Contre - Amiral Serre Commandant - en- 
chef. Commandant provisoire des Etablissements frau^ais de 
rOceanie, pour reconnaitre et acclamer le nouveau souverain de 

The Legislative Assembly received with acclamation the deci- 
sions of the omnipotent admiral, who not only proclaimed Ariiaue 
king, but has further settled the succession for two generations to 
come. Queen Marau being half English, any child to which she 
may give birth is excluded from the throne in favour of the little 
Princess Teriivaetua, daughter of the king's brother Taraatoa, and 
the charming Moe, ex-King and Queen of Raiatea— thus securing 
the pure Tahitian blood-royal. Failing issue of the little Princess 
Vaetua, the succession is to pass to her cousin. Prince Terriihinoi- 
atua, commonly called Hinoi — a very handsome boy, son of the 
third royal brother, now deceased, who was known as the Prince 
de Joinville. 

These "decisions are said to have given great satisfaction to the 
Tahitians, who, with very good reason, had feared that, on the 
death of the old queen, the French would take the nominal power 
as well as the real, which they have so long held. 

Pomare's proud independent spirit must have chafed sorely 
under their tutelage ; but she contrived to endure it for thirty-five 
years. She was just sixty-five when she died, having been born 
on the 28th February 1813. 

She was the only daughter of King Pomare II., who was the 
very first friend of the missionaries when they attempted to get a 
footing in thes*. isles, and proved their stanch supporter to the end 
of his days.-^ His daughter's name was Aimata. In the year 
1822 she married the young chief of Tahaa, who had received the 
name of Pomare <as a mark of special favour from the old king. 

' King Pomare II. was tlie first person who was publicly baptiseil in Tahiti. 
The service took place on 16th July 1819. 



Thus Aimata became known as Pomare-Yahine 5 ^ the correct des- 
ignation for a married woman being thus to append the term for 
wife to the name of the husband. In January 1827 she succeeded 
her brother, Pomaro III., and reigned supreme till 1843, when the 
French assumed the Protectorate. 

Young Queen Marau Pomare is one of a large family of very 
y handsome half-whites — children of a high chiefess of Tahiti, who 
/ married a much respected English Jew, Mr Salmon. She has 
three stalwart sons and five most comely daughters, whose rich 
olive complexion, black silken tresses, mellifluous voices, and for- 
eign intonation in speaking English, are all suggestive of Italy. 

The eldest daughter, who owns the formidable title of Tetuan- 
uireiaiteruiatea — though, happily, known to her personal friends 
by the more euphonious name of Titaua — is herself a very high 
chiefess both of Tahiti and Moorea, on each of which she owns 
several large estates. At the early age of fourteen she married a 
wealthy Scotch merchant — Mr Brander — who died a few months 
ago, leaving to his young widow a heavy weight of care, in that 
her two eldest daughters have married Germans, whose mercantile 
interests are diametrically opposed to those of the house of Brander ; 
and who, having vainly striven to wrest the business from her, 
are now pressing for immediate division of property — a process 
which necessitates a most exasperating amount of legal discussion, 
in which questions of English law, native law, and, above all, the 
Code Napoleon, vv^hich is the law of the Protectorate, crop up by 

Moetia, the second daughter of Mrs Salmon, married the 
American Consul, Mr Attwater. Marau, as you already know, 
married her royal kinsman; while Lois (commonly called Prie, 
which is a contraction of Beretanie — a name adopted out of com- 
pliment to Britain) and Manihinihi, the two youngest sisters (who 
; both fully sustain the beauty of their race), live with their mother 

1 Vahine, a woman. 

2 And in this year of 1882 still continue to crop up, greatly to the benefit of the 
lawyers, who find in the affairs of the Estate Brander, a harvest far too remunera- 
tive to be lightly abandoned. 


— a very fine old lady, whose long native name I cannot tell you, 
but her ordinary signature is Ariitaimai. She -was a cousin of the 
late queen, and is said greatly to resemble her. 

Her three sons are Taati, Xaarii, and Ariipaea — all tall and 
powerfully-built men. 

The system of adopting children, wliich prevails here, is very 
confusing and very peculiar. Every family seems to have at least 
one belonging to some other family. A child is generally bespoken 
before it is born, and as soon as it is weaned it may be claimed by 
its adoptive parents, who give it a new name, by which it is thence- 
forth known, and who become responsible for it in every respect 
— for its feeding and its education. The child is at perfect liberty 
to pass unquestioned from one home to another ; so if its second 
father or mother chance to annoy it, it goes and takes up its abode 
with its real parents till it feels inclined to return to the others. 
"When these die, it inherits their property on equal terms with 
their real children. You can imagine that where relationships are 
very intricate to begin with, these additional blendings of families 
create a most bewildering interweaving. 

Then all the intermarriages of the principal families add to the 
confusion. Every one on Tahiti, Eimeo, Bora Bora, and the 
Society Isles generally, seems to be related to every one else, at 
least among the high chiefs. In no corner of the earth is there 
a greater respect for good ancestry — nowhere is " a lang pedi- 
gree " more prized. The most singular point, however, is, that 
whereas in a proposed marriage between two persons, both having 
.Tahitian blood (whether pure or partial does not matter), the 
greatest anxiety is manifested to prove that blood sufSciently blue, 
and any suggestion on the part of a high chief of wishing to wed 
a maiden of low degree calls forth a storm of indignation from all 
his relations ; yet if a Tahitian woman of tlie highest class chooses 
to marry a European of very dubious rank by birth, not a voice is 
raised in opposition. I believe the solution of this curious point 
lies in the fact that here, as in Fiji, a child takes rank from his 
mother, so that he is in many instances a much more important 
person than his father. It is the same peculiarity which I pointed 

1G4 A lady's CPvUISE. 

out to you, when writing fom Fiji, respecting the customs of its 

I have just heard that a very leaky ship is to sail for Sydney 
to-morrow, and a better one starts for New Zealand next week ; so 
in order to lose no chance of a letter reaching you, I shall despatch 
this via Sydney, and send you another via Ncav Zealand. Mean- 
while, good-bye. 



Cair. of the Rev. James Green, 
Paofai, Papeete, Tahiti, Saturday, 13th. 

Dearest Nell, — It is high time I sent you a cheerier letter than 
the last, which was written just after our dreary arrival in a dis- 
mal storm, and further overshadowed by the distressing manner in 
which our happy party was so summarily dispersed. With the 
exception of that one sad cloud, no drawback of any sort has arisen. 
The cordial kindness of every creature here, the easy luxury of 
very simple social life, a heavenly climate, and the dreamlike love- 
liness of the isles, all combine to make up as charming a whole as 
can possibly be conceived. It is the sort of place in which one is 
made to feel at home at once : from the moment I landed every- 
one seems to have tried what he or she could do for the enjoyment 
of the stranger. It is a region of true hospitality. 

Certainly this is a very pretty little town. Its simple village 
streets are all laid out as boulevards, and form pleasant shady 
avenues, the commonest tree being the pretty yellow hybiscus with 
the claret-coloured heart, so common in Fiji, where it is called 
surya. Here its name is boorau. The names of the streets recall 
Parisian memories. Tlie shadiest and widest street is the Chinese 
quarter, and its poor little wooden houses are Chinese stores and 


tea-shops. It rejoices in the name of Eue de Pologne, while the 
principal real street is the Eue de Eivoli, where are merchants' 
stores, cafes, grog-shops, and even hotels of some sort. Of course 
the pleasantest locations are those which face the harbour and 
catch the sweet sea-breeze ; and the largest stores for provisions 
and dry goods are in the Eue de Commerce, each possessing its 
own wharf. I fear the word wharf may suggest the dirty prosaic 
wharves of England, an idea which you must banish at once ; for 
business in its dingy aspect is not obtrusive, and the Tiarbour-wall 
is but a stone coping for soft green turf, where girls with light 
rods sit fishing, and market-boats land their cargo of gay fruit and 
fish, while the motley throng pass and repass — ^Tahitians, French 
saUors and soldiers. Chinamen, black-robed French priests, and all 
the nondescript nationalities from the ships. 

There is a considerable foreign population, including, of course, 
a large staff of French officials of all sorts — civil, naval, and mili- 
tary — and their presence seems a raison d'etre for a strong corps of 
gens (Tarmes, who otherwise would certainly seem an incongruous 
element in the South Seas. 

By a recent census I learn that the native population of Tahiti 
is somewhere about 8000; that of Moorea, 1500. That there are 
in the group 830 French, 144 citizens of the United States, 230 
British subjects, and about 700 Chinese. 

The French have both a Protestant and Eoman Catholic Mis- 
sion. The former was made necessary by the fact that, on the 
establishment of the Protectorate in 1843, the English missionaries 
were subjected to such very oppressive regulations as greatly im- 
peded their ministrations among the people, all of whom were at 
that time Christians, and, moreover, still in the fervour of first 
love — a love which, it is to be feared, has now in a great measure 
faded to the light of common day, as might be expected from the 
large influx of infidel, or at best, Avholly indifferent, foreigners. 

The Church of Eome having resolved to proselytise this already 
occupied field, sent here a bishop and many priests, with a supple- 
mentary staff of " Fr^res et Socurs de Charit(5." I think the Sisters 
are of the order St Joseph de . . . The foreigners con- 


nected with the Catholic ml.ision number iiv all about forty persons. 
They have had large aid and encouragement from the French 
Government, who compelled the chiefs of Tahiti and Moorea to 
build a church for their use in each district. ^Nevertheless, out 
of the 8000 inhabitants, 300 nominal adherents is the maximum 
which the Catholics themselves have ever claimed, but fifty is said 
to be nearer the mark. 

The French Protestant Mission, however, found it desirable to 
send French subjects to the support of the London Mission, of 
which Mr Green is now the only representative. His coadjutors 
are M. Yiennot, M. Yernier, and M. Brun — all maixied men and 
peres de famille. The latter is jjasteur of Moorea. M. Yiennot 
has a large Protestant school both for boys and girls of pure French 
and pure Tahitian blood, and of all shades of mixed race. TVe 
went to see his charming house, which is the most romantic nest, 
for a school, that you can well imagine, with wide verandahs and a 
large pleasant garden. Several of the daughters of the early Eng- 
lish missionaries assist in teaching; and everything about the 
establishment seems bright and healthy in tone. 

The third French pasteur, M. Yernier, was a student friend of 
Lord Lome's at Geneva (under Merle d'Aubign^), and returned 
with him to Inveraray for three months, ere resuming his own 
studies for a while in Edinburgh. Consequently he retains most 
loving recollections of everything linked with those very happy 
days ; and it struck me pleasantly, in this far-away isle, to find in 
his little drawing-room many familiar photographs of Inveraray faces 
and places. Now his pretty wife is mother of half-a-dozen typical 
French little ones, the youngest of whom was the hero of a very 
pleasant dinner-party, given by his parents the night before last, in 
honour of his baptism. There were about a dozen persons present, 
including all the members of the Protestant Mission, Captain 
Guignon of the Bossuet (a most friendly trading-vessel belonging 
to the firm of Messrs Tandonnet of Bordeaux), and myself. All 
the time of dinner, the petit nouveau-haptise was laid on the floor, 
where he rolled about laughing and crowing with delight, while 
the other children played quietly beside him. It was a scene of 


graceful home life, and illustrates the easy unconventional pleasures 
of social existence in this sweet isle.-^ 

It certainly is very strange how one invariably finds home links 
in all corners of the earth. If there was one place more unlikely 
than another to do so, I should have thought it was Tahiti. But, 
as usual, I find myself quite en jMys de connaissance. The day 
after I landed, Mrs Miller drove me in her nice pony-phaeton to 
call on Mrs Brander. I naturally expected that our conversation 
would be on purely insular subjects. Imagine my astonishment 
when, after the first greetings, this beautiful Anglo-Tahitian turned 
the conversation to Scotland — Morayshire, Speyside, Elgin, and 
many friends there — and spoke of them all from intimate personal 
acquaintance ! 

Then, for the first time, it flashed across me that the name which 
had become so familiar to my ear as that of la Maison Brandere, 
was simply that of a county neighbour in Scotland ; and that Mr 
Brander of Tahiti was none other than a half-brother of Lady 
Dunbar Brander,^ who in his early youth left Elgin and went forth 
to carve his fortune in foreign lands. You know how little in- 
terest people in Britain take in watching the career of such lads, 
unless they chance to come home to spend their gold. Mr Brander 
did not come home. He found in the South Seas a field for his 
vast energies — embarked in trade, added ship to ship till he owned 
a considerable fleet, and so his connection spread from group to 
group ; and he bought lands and built stores on all manner of 
remote isles, and in course of time amassed a gigantic fortune. 
His marriage with Titaua Salmon must have tended greatly to 
secure his position in these isles ; and so his business went on ever 
increasing, till at length mind and body broke down under the 

1 Soon after my return to England, I heard that this happy home liad been in- 
vaded by ophthalmia of a virulent type, necessitating an immediate return to 
France, and long and anxious care ; but nevertheless resulting in tlie partial blind- 
ness for life of two of those merry boys. Even the Taliitian paradise has its 

- The late Sir Archibald Dunbar of Northfield, in the county of Elgin, married, 
firstly, my father's sister, Miss Gordon Gumming of Altyre and Gordonstown ; 
and secondly, Miss Brander, heiress of Pitgaveny, whom, consequently, we have 
known all our lives, and loved much. 

1G8 A lady's cruise. 

constant strain, and he died, leaving the whole care of his immense 
business to his young widow, who is only thirty-four now, the 
eldest of her nine children having been born when slie was fifteen ! 
Slie is the mother of as pretty a covey as you could wish to see, 
beginiiing with two lovely groAvn-up married daughters and one or 
two grandchildren, and ending with two darling little girls, one of 
whom bears the charming name of Paloma, the dove. 

Mr Erander most wisely resolved that his wife's brothers and 
his own sons should have the advantage of a first-rate education in 
Ijritain. Several of the boys are still at school at St Andrews, 
whence Alexander, the eldest, recently came out here ; but he must 
shortly return to England, to look after property belonging to his 

In all these far countries people talk of a run to England and 
back as if it was the veriest trifle ! — ^merely a run of fifty or sixty 
days, via San Francisco, and across the United States ; or, if 
economy has to be considered, a voyage of 140 days in a sailing- 
ship round Cape Horn ! 

This afternoon Mme. Fayzeau took me for an exquisite drive 
into the country. We drove along the shore on a road of fine 
green turf, skirting the lovely calm lagoon, and passing by an end- 
less succession of small wooden houses, each almost hidden in 
bowers of blossom and shady fruit - trees, with pleasant lawns, 
where merry children played, while their elders sat or lay on mats 
sewing, or twining wreaths, or rolling cigarettes — all suggesting 
lives of easy-going happiness without undue care ; and the air was 
made musical by rippling laughter and mellifluous voices. 

I scarcely know wliy it is that Tahitian sounds so much more 
attractive than the sterner Tongan tongue. Individual words are 
actually less liquid, because of the frequent use of the aspirate. I 
am told, as rather a curious fact, that whereas the Samoans and 
Tongans are so very profuse in their expression of the word 
"thanks," the Tahitians, like the New Zealanders, have no equiva- 
lent for it. 

For love of his master, we went to see Commandant Aube's poor 
sick dog Fox, and learnt that it died very soon after his departure. 


Then we drove through a most beautiful wide avenue of dark- 
green trees, something like the Caroba, or locust-trees of j\ralta, 
completely overshadowing the broad green drive. And now we 
were facing the mountains in the centre of the isle, and looked up 
the lovely valley of FautaAva, at the head of which towers a mag- 
nificent hill, so symmetrically indented as to resemble a gigantic 
crown. Hence its common name, Le Diademe, though to the 
natives it is still ]\Iaiauo. 

Eeturning towards Papeete, we met many carriages and eques- 
trians ; for here there is no lack of either. Most of the gentlemen 
were making their way to a river, which is a favourite bathing- 
place ; and I need not tell you that a river-bath is one of the chief 
delights of a day in the tropics. 

Mrs Brander had invited us all to dine at The Eed House, which 
is her town home — a large three-storeyed red-brick house. There, 
amongst other friends, we met a very delightful old lady, Mrs 
Simpson — a true " mother in Israel." Widow of one of the early 
missionaries, she shared in all his labours, and in the joy of be- 
holding the dawn of Cliristianity, when its first rays dispelled the 
dark night of heathenism. Many a wondrous change have those 
clear observant eyes witnessed in her half-century of working life 
in these fair isles, and many a tale of thrilling interest has she to 
tell of scenes enacted within her own recollection. 

Of course, with the advance of civilisation, many of the pictur- 
esque elements of earlier days have passed away. The natives no 
longer assemble on shore to practise their writing lessons on the 
smooth sea-beach; neither do they carry sand into the schools, 
that, by spreading it on a closely-woven mat or rude table, it may 
serve as a simple slate on which to work out the puzzles of arith- 
metic. The advanced scholars no longer seek for smooth stones 
on the mountains, to be polished with sea-sand till fine writing 
can be traced on them with the spines of the echini. 

Xor are the large leaves of the plantain used as letter-paper on 
which to send messages, written with a blunt stick, which bruised 
the delicate leaf without cutting it, and so produced a tracing of 
brown writing on a "lossv green surface. These letters were rolled 

170 A lady's ckuise, 

•up like a sheet of parchment and tied with a strip of bark. A 
plantain-leaf heing about fifteen inches wide, and perhaps six feet 
in length, would allow of a very long message being written on 
one scroll, and answered very well, provided the letter had not far 
to travel ; but of course the leaf would shrivel and split within a 
few days. !N"ow letters are written on common note-paper, and 
bear the postage-stamps of the French Eepublic. 

Ko longer are children summoned to school, and congregations 
to worship, by the king's messenger, lightly draped, but gaily 
wreathed, passing SAviftly round the village, blowing loud blasts on 
his great trumpet-shell, and pausing at intervals to invite the pres- 
ence of the people. Now his place is fiUed by the very common- 
place bell of civilised life. 

In the matter of dress, too, — though we may be thankful that 
Prince Alfred's strong commendation of the graceful sacque has 
caused it to triumph over all varieties of changeful and unbecom- 
ing fashion, which for a while found favour here, and which ere 
now have covered these comely heads with English bonnets and 
close-fitting white caps (!) — the artistic eye would certainly prefer 
the dress of olden days : that of the women consisting of soft 
drapery of beautiful cream-coloured native cloth, wound round the 
body, passed under one arm and knotted on the other shoulder, 
revealing the shapely neck and arm, while gay garlands wreathed 
their hair ; and for ear - rings, some wore a fragrant blossom 
passed through one ear, and, in the other, two or three large pearls 
fastened together with finely braided human hair. 

The men, so many of whom have now adopted coat and trousers, 
then wore either a very finely plaited, fringed mat, or a pareo — i.e., 
kilt of native cloth, made either from the bark of the paper-mul- 
berry or that of the bread-fruit, or else from the filaments of the 
banyan-tree. Of these the former was the whitest, and preferred 
for women ; the latter was very thin and brown. The cloth made 
from the bark of the bread-fruit was very strong, and was dyed 
according to taste — either of a rich chocolate, a brilliant yellow, or 
red. The two last were the favourite colours, and were obtained 
from the sap and berries of difi'erent trees. Sometimes the cloth 


■was reversible — being black on one side and red on the other, and 
varnished with vegetable gum to enrich the colour. 

Some wore this handsome material as a cloak — falling from the 
shoulders in flowing drapery, very becoming to a stately chief. 
Others wore it as a tiputa or tippet, which resembled the poncho 
of South America — being simply a long piece of cloth, with a hole 
cut in the centre, through which to pass the head, the garment 
falling over the back and chest and reaching to the knees. Some- 
times this tiputa was beautifully ornamented; and often it was 
made of curiously knotted fibre — generally that of the hybiscus, 
from which fine fishing-nets were also made. Those who could 
afford such luxury wore head-dresses made of the long tail-feathers 
of the graceful tropic bird; and the poorest wore gay flowers. 
But these were discarded in favour of regular English hats, and 
the scarlet feathers were used as trimming for shabby black coats. 
Proud was the man who became possessed of a pair of trousers, to 
be displayed alternately on legs or arms ! In short, the spirit of 
innovation was attended with the usual hideous incongruities. 

Instead of the big European boats of the present day, with 
nothing distinctive except the form of their quaint triangular sail, 
there were formerly fleets of canoes of every size up to 100 feet in 
length, with grotesque carving on the raised stern and prow, and 
flags and streamers of native cloth. They carried large sails of 
yellow matting, made from the long leaves of the screw-pine,^ 
which was much lighter than the canvas of civilisation, but also 
much less durable. Here again the picturesque element has 
suff'ered. In those days there were Avar canoes and chiefs' canoes, 
single canoes, and double canoes — like Siamese t^wdns; and in 
every fleet there was always a sacred canoe, that the presence of 
the tribal god might not be lacking. 

The gods of Tahiti seem to have been simple enough : some 
were in the form of a large bird, others were merely a hoUow 
cylinder ornamented Avith bright feathers. The blue shark Avas 
deified, and had temples erected in his honour, and a special priest- 
hood ; he Avas chiefly Avorshipped by fishermen, thougli fcAV Avhosa 

1 Pandanus. 


path lay over the great waters would fail to propitiate so powerful 
and cruel a foe. Terrible are the stories of canoes which have 
been disabled and water-logged, and of the hungry sharks that 
have gathered round in shoals, and picked off the crew one by one, 
till the canoe, thus lightened, could float again ; and perhaps one 
survivor has escaped to tell of his comrades' fate. 

"When Pomare II. determined to become a Christian, his first 
decided act was to show the people with wliat contempt he now 
regarded the gods of his ancestors, to whom the turtle had ever 
been held sacred. It was invariably cooked with sacred fire 
within the precincts of the temple, and a portion was always 
offered to the idoL A turtle having been presented to the king, 
his followers were about to carry it to the marae, when he called 
them back, and bade them prepare an oven and bake it like 
ordinary food, without regard to the idol. Great was the con- 
sternation of the attendants, who tremblingly obeyed, and watched 
the king himself cut up the turtle and begin to eat. He vainly 
endeavoured to induce those who were with him to share this 
impious feast : they looked for some immediate manifestation of 
divine anger, and expected to see the king stricken before their 
eyes. Great was their wonder when no harm befell him, either 
on that day or on the morrow ; and thus the first step was taken 
towards the overthrow of the old superstition. 

It was a simple but effectual test, and one which required con- 
siderable courage on the part of him who first dared to try it. 
Pomare, on this occasion, did for the people of Tahiti what Queen 
Kapiolani did for those of Hawaii, when, descending to the brink 
of the awesome crater, she defied the goddess P^le by eating the 
blue berries held sacred to her, and which none dared to taste 
without first throwing a handful as an offering to P(^16. 

In like manner did Pomare-Vahine, daughter of the King of 
Eaiatea, teach the same lesson to the chiefs of Eimeo, who had 
brought her a great faamuraa, or feeding — i.e., a gift of roasted 
pigs, fowls, fish, fruit, and vegetables. According to custom, the 
priests were present to crave the blessing of the gods on the whole 
feast, by first selecting the portions to be offered on the altars. 


But ere the heathen priests could make their choice, the Christian 
chiefess bade her head man consecrate the whole by thanksgiving 
to the Almighty. The crowd of bystanders looked on in wonder, 
and the priests retired, not venturing to claim for idol altars the 
food which, they felt, had thus been offered to the Most High. 

Many such tales might I now hear and preserve for your benefit, 
could I but find time to listen with an undivided mind. 

But there is so much that is new to hear and to see, that I 
hardly feel able to disentangle the threads of so many subjects, 
which, apparently, are all interwoven one with another. Doubt- 
less, by degrees, they will arrange themselves in a more orderly 

In the evening we all walked home together, by a pleasant path 
along the grassy shore, passing through a dark thicket of large 
hybiscus trees, then beneath tall cocoa-palms, whose every frond 
lay clearly shadowed by the brilliant light of only a crescent moon. 
No full moon in England could shine with so soft a radiance. 

The loveliness of the evenings here is indescribable ; and well 
do all the inhabitants know how to enjoy their beauty. Every 
one saunters forth after dinner, — the general rendezvous being a 
grassy lawn under the great trees near Government House, where 
the admiral's excellent band plays divinely, to the great delight of 
the Tahitians, who are themselves most musical, and who assemble 
in crowds, listening in rapt delight to the operatic airs, and then, 
by irresistible impulse, dancing joyously on the turf, as valse and 
galop succeed one another. 

But nothing could be more orderly and respectable than this 
mirthful crowd, which s.trikes me the more forcibly from the fact 
that these are not the characteristics generally ascribed to Papeete, 
but are in great measure due to the wholesome influence of Admiral 
Serre and his officers, and to the excellent discipline of the ships 
now in harbour. Of course when a rowdy ship comes in, it is 
more difficult to preserve order ; and as most accounts are written 
by travellers who chance on these unlucky times (and perhaps help 
to cause them), the place has got a worse name than it ever de- 
served. So say the old inhabitants. Its present condition of 

174 A lady's ckuise. 

extremely orderly good behaviour is, however, undoubtedly an 
exceptional result of the admiral's iron rule and stringent measures 
for the general weal. Immediately on his arrival, he gave orders 
that every damsel whose morals were recognised as lax, should be 
at once deported from the gay capital. So, Avithout further ado, 
all such were shipped off to the seclusion of their various country 
districts, or else to more rigid seclusion, in charge of the police, — 
only coming forth to sweep the roads, which, consequently, are in 
a state of exquisite cleanliness and neatness. 

It is not to be supposed that the present condition of preter- 
natural goodness will very long survive the departure of the 
admiral, as many of the governors of the Protectorate seem rather 
to encourage what the more staid residents deem unseemly frolic. 
Many of these governors are not Frenchmen, — merely Creoles, 
whom the Tahitians dislike exceedingly, and contemptuously de- 
scribe as Paumuto-Frane (Paumuto-men being Queen Pomare's 
pig-feeders, and Frane being the equivalent of French). Many 
gross errors and maladministrations have crept in during their 
rule ; and the admiral is now devoting his whole great energies 
to rectifying all manner of abuses, greatly to the satisfaction of 
the Tahitians, with whom he is apparently immensely popular. 
Moreover, he seems determined to deal even-handed justice be- 
tween the Protestant and Catholic teachers, which the latter by 
no means appreciate, having so long been greatly favoured by the 
Creole authorities. 

Socially, in his double capacity of admiral and governor, he does 
all in his power to make things pleasant for every one. For my 
own part, I am bound to say that, from the very first evening of 
our arrival, he has been unvaryingly courteous, and in every respect 
most thoughtful for me. We meet very often, as he and some of 
his suite invariably join Mrs IMiller's party every evening at the 
band, after which they walk back with us along the beautiful 
shore to the British consulate, where we generally have a second 
concert, and much pleasant chat of the most polyglot order — 
English, French, and Spanish, in about equal parts — with iced 
lemonade and liqueurs to help the flow of words ! 


The only drawback to my enjoyment of all this is the feeling 
that my late most kind camarades are so thoroughlj' out of it all. 
Like Eachel bemoaning her little ones, they refuse to be comforted, 
and nothing will induce any of them to come ashore to any place 
where they might by any accident meet the admiral. Of course 
this is rather uncomfortable for me; for though they all declare 
themselves most anxious that I should be lionised in the best pos- 
sible manner [i.e., officially), I fear it must seem to them as if I 
had gone over to the enemy. 

Still, there is no alternative ; and the kindness which is even 
now arranging my future plans, is such that I can but accept it 

Having proclaimed Ariiaue and Marau, King and Queen of the 
Isles, the admiral is now making arrangements to escort them on 
a grand ceremonial round of all the districts on each of the prin- 
cipal isles, that they may personally receive the homage of their 
people. It will be a very interesting occasion, calling forth what- 
ever still remains of old native customs. To my great delight, the 
admiral has asked me to join this expedition. At first I treated 
the suggestion as a mere civil fa^on de parler, no other lady having 
been invited; little Vaetua (Moe's daughter, the future queen) 
being Marau's only companion. However, on the following day 
an A.D.C. brought me an invitation in due form, and the Millers 
are delighted, and say it will be the nicest thing possible for me. 
So of course, now, I have definitely accepted, and am looking 
forward to the ploy with the greatest possible interest. There 
are twenty districts in Tahiti, and the intention is to visit two 
a-day, which will make our picnic expedition a ten days' pleasure ; 
after which we return here to make a fresh start for the beautiful 
isle of Moorea. 

Sunday Evening. 

At eight o'clock Madame Fayzeau took me with her to the 
Eoman Catholic cathedral for the military Mass, at which all high 
officials are expected to be present. Soldiers with fixed bayonets 
stand on either side of the altar, and others down the aisle, and 


present arms, kneel, stand up, &c., obedient to a loud word of com- 
mand, ■which, indeed, is the only Avord spoken aloud till the final 
benediction and short chant. The organ plays the Avhole time, and 
the congregation attend to their private devotions, or do not, as the 
case may be. Apparently the fact of being present is sufficient. 
Very few Tahitians attend the eight o'clock Mass. The general 
congregation assemble at nine, when the service is audible, and a 
sermon is preached, partly in Tahitian, partly in French. 

After church we went to see the Sisters, some of whom are 
engaged in nursing at the hospital, while the others teach in their 
own school. Returning to the British consulate, we found a pleas- 
ant naval breakfast-party ; after which we enjoyed a calm peaceful 
afternoon here, while Mr Green was engaged with some of his 
teachers and classes. He has the charge of a very large native 
church here, where he holds forenoon service, but frequently has 
occasion to visit churches in other parts of the isle ; and one of the 
many irritating French regulations forbids his preaching in any 
church but his own Avithout a special permit, which has to be 
applied for, and granted afresh, every week, and is often delayed 
tiU the very last moment, so that he has to wait with his horse 
ready harnessed, and then probably drive much faster than he 
wishes, to reach his destination in time. 

As each member of the mission has his own native work to 
attend to, and as every one in the island understands Tahitian, the 
only foreign service is one held on alternate Sunday evenings by 
Mr Green and the French ^?a*•^e^^r5. This evening it was in Eng- 
lish, according to the Congregational form, and ended with the Holy 

We had a lovely Avalk home, but remarked that the Parisian 
observance of Sunday as a jour de fete has superseded that very 
sacred reverence for the Lord's Day, which is so striking a feature 
in most of the Christianised isles. To-night the crowd at the band 
was larger and noisier than usual, owing to the presence of many 
French sailors, some of whom were nearly as drunk as an average 
set of blue-jackets, under similar circumstances, would probably 
have been. 


With some anxiety, I noted a wide halo round the moon, and 
devoutly trust it may not prove an evil symptom of the coming 
weather ; for to-morrow morning we start on our grand expedition 
round the isle. 

!Now I must try to secure a good night's rest, so shall close this 
letter, which may take its chance of being taken to some point by 
some vessel in the course of the next ten days. 

Your Loving Sister. 



Chez THE Rev. James Gkeen", 

Papeete, 25t/i. October 

Dear Lady Gordon, — I have just heard that a vessel is about 
to sail, and will carry mails, so, though I have not time to write at 
length, I must send a few lines by her. Though antagonisms are 
not perhaps so openly virulent here as in Samoa, there is neverthe- 
less such jealousy among the traders that they often try to sneak 
out of harbour unknown to their neighbours, and so we have just 
lost the chance of sending letters via Auckland by a fine vessel 
belonging to Godeffroy ; but no one knew she was going, till she 
actually sailed. 

We returned last night from the grand tour of this isle on the 
occasion of King Pomare's accession to the throne. Admiral Serre 
most kindly arranged that I should be of the party, and really I do 
not think I ever enjoyed an expedition so much in all my life. It 
was wonderful luck for me just to have come in for so exceptional 
a chance ; for, of course, under no other circumstances could I have 
seen either the country or the people to such advantage. It was 
really like a bit of a fairy tale, and all fitted in so smoothly and 
naturally without the smallest trouble or care of any sort, so far as 


178 A lady's cruise. 

I was concerned. In every respect it has been a most delightful 
trip, — good weather, good roads, and most agreeable company. I 
cannot tell you how often I longed to have you with us (remem- 
bering liow you love driving, and that carriages are an unknown 
luxury in Fiji) ! 

The admiral had a capital carriage and excellent horses, and such 
a jovial great half-caste driver. And the broad grass drives along 
the shore, generally skirting the sea. or passing through the heav- 
enly orange-groves, are so delicious, and you glide along so silently 
through ever-changing scenes of beauty. How you would have 
enjoyed it all ! 

Besides the royal party and a few native chiefs, there were about 
twenty French officers and the admiral's excellent brass band, con- 
sisting of twenty sailors, who have been trained and are kept weU 
up to the mark by M. D'Oncieue de la Battye, the admiral's chef 
(Vetdt-major, who is an excellent musician, and a most agreeable 
companion — which was fortunate, as either he or M. Hardouin, the 
A.D.C., always occupied the third seat in the carriage. Every- 
thing on the whole expedition was admirably arranged; and al- 
though we were such a very large party, there was always good 
accommodation provided, and everything was done comfortably. 

Each district possesses a very large chcferie or fareo, — i.e., a very 
large native house built for public purposes — meetings, and the 
accommodation of strangers. Like all the native houses here, 
they consist chiefly of a heavy thatch - roof, rounded at both 
ends, supported on a mere framework of posts, and leaving the 
sides all open, save at night, when they are screened in. They 
generally have good wooden floors, often smooth enough to dance 

The first of tliese at which we stopped was most beautifully 
decorated, and tables spread for 300 persons, the chief's family sup- 
plying that for les gros bonnets — and each family in the district 
taking entire charge of one table. At other places we found the 
feast spread in temporary houses, but everywhere it was gracefully 

Our night quarters were also most comfortably arranged, and I 


Avas especially charmed by tlie beds provided for us, — very large 
and soft, stuffed with the silky tree-cotton ; abundant pillows ; real 
mosquito-nets and light curtains, tied back with gay ribbons ; and 
such pretty coverlets of patchwork, really triumphs of art needle- 
work. Those most in favour have crimson patterns on a white 
ground, but the designs are highly artistic. It seems that a Tahitian 
housewife prides herself on her snowy linen and downy pillows — a 
very happy adaptation of foreign customs. "Wlienever it was pos- 
sible so to arrange it, Marau and I shared the same room, which 
was a pleasant arrangement. 

Each morning our procession of fifteen wheeled vehicles started 
at 7 A.M., preceded by native outriders carrying the gay district, 
flag, which made a pretty bit of colour as we passed through the 
green glades. A drive of seven or eight ■ miles brought us to our 
halting-point, where we found masses of people assembled to sing 
himenes of welcome, all, however, dressed in black, relieved only 
by crowns and handkerchiefs of yellow, or else a wreath or hat of 
snowy white bamboo or arrowroot fibre, and in their hair soft 
plumes of snowy reva-reva, — a filmy ribbon extracted from the 
cocoa-palm leaf. All the women were supposed to have cut off their 
beautiful long black hair, as mourning for old Queen Pomare ; but 
happily a good many had only shammed, so now there is no lack of 
glossy black tresses. Those, however, who affect deep mourning, 
still wear black straw-hats trimmed with crape, and look most 
lugubrious, their dark sallow complexions and raven hair giving 
them such a very sombre appearance. 

All the women without exception have their dresses cut on the 
pattern of the old English sacques worn by our grandmothers — 
that is, a yoke on the shoulders, from which the skirt falls to the 
feet, and trails behind. The effect is very easy and graceful, and 
it is a matter of deep congratulation that the dress in fashion in 
Europe at the period when Tahiti adopted foreign garments, should 
have been one so suitable. It would be impossible to devise a 
cooler dress, as it only touches the neck, shoulders, and (very 
loosely) the arms. The one under-garment is low-necked, sliort- 
eleeved, and of such a length as to form a sweeping skirt, thus 

180 A lady's cruise. 

combining chemise and petticoat. Shoes and stockings are of 
course superfluous. 

Having halted and feasted at the morning district, we started 
again about two o'clock, drove seven or eight miles further, always 
through lovely country, and so reached our night quarters, where 
we were again received by assembled multitudes and congratula- 
tory himenes. Then the band played, as it had done at our noon- 
day halt, to the great delight of the people ; and we strolled about, 
and bathed in some clear crystalline stream, reassembling for a 
great native feast, which, however, was served European fashion, 
as each district possesses its own crockery, glass, knives, forks, 
spoons, &c. The admiral provided French wines and bread. 

Then followed more himene singing ; while we sat listening, 
entranced, either in the great house, or on the beautiful sea-shore, 
in the perfect moonlight. Himenes are a new sensation in music, 
utterly indescribable — the strangest, wildest, most perplexing 
chants ; very musical and varied, quite impossible to catch. They 
are a curious and fascinating sort of glee-chorus, in which every 
one seems to introduce any variations he fancies, but always in 
perfect tune, and producing a combination like most melodious 
cathedral chimes — rising and falling in rippling music, and a 
droning undertone sounding through it all. The whole air seems 
full of musical voices perfectly harmonised — now in unison, now 
heard singly; one moment lulled to softest tones, then swelling in 
clear ringing melody ; voices now running together, now diverging. 
The singers compose their own words, which sometimes describe 
the most trivial details of passing events, sometimes are fragments 
of most sacred hymns — according to the impulse of the moment. 
Perhaps this last fact gives us a clue to the origin of the word 
hymn-ene ; though I fancy that the words sung are often those of 
older and less seemly songs than the hymns taught by the early 

This is an outline of what has been our daily life for the last 
ten days. All has gone off without a single drawback, and it has 
been a spell of thorough enjoyment : nothing could exceed the 
kindness of every one, whether French or Tahitian. I tliink that 


of all the lovely isles I have visited, these certainly deserve the 
palm. Tahiti is a miniature of Ceylon, omitting all the great 
hideous coffee districts in the interior (districts made hideous by 
denudation — the glorious primeval forests having been ruthlessly 
sacrificed to make way for gold-producing crops). 

The lovely hills and valleys of Tahiti and Moorea have only 
gained in beauty by the introduction of the fruit-bearing trees, 
which now form a most important feature in the general wealth of 
foliage — the dense thickets of orange-trees having all grown from 
those brought from Sydney by Mr Henry, one of the early mission- 
aries. Strangely enough, the most healthy trees are those which 
have grown self-sown from the seed thrown about carelessly by the 
natives,* when they retired to some quiet valley to brew their 
orange-rum in secret. These trees have thriven far better than 
those much cared for, and transplanted. 

The splendid mango-trees, whose mass of dark foliage is now so 
prominent a feature on all sides, were introduced less than twenty 
years ago by the French, who have taken infinite trouble to pro- 
cure all the very best sorts, and have succeeded to perfection. 

But the special charm of these isles lies in the multitude of 
their streams and rivulets. We calculated that in driving round 
Tahiti — a distance of 160 miles — we crossed 150 streams, all clear 
as crystal. Several of these are large rivers j and all have en- 
chanting pools, most tempting to bathers. 

The general form of the main isle is that of a double gourd — a 
large circle divided by a rocky ridge from a small one, the centre 
being composed of a tumbled wilderness of mountains rising to 
a height of 7000 feet. Precipitous crags, pinnacles, and narrow 
ridges of black volcanic rock, which the natives themselves never 
care to scale, tower in grand forms at the head of each of the 
countless richly wooded valleys, to all of which we looked up from 
the sea-level. There was only one point where we rose to any 
height — namely, the rocky ridge which connects the jieninsula 
with the main isle. 

I must not write more at present lest I should lose the mail. 
Xext week, if all is well, the Seignelay is to take the royal party 

182 A lady's cruise. 

across to beautiful ]\Ioorea, there to repeat the pleasures of the last 
fortnigiit on a smaller scale. And very soon after our return 
thence, Mrs Brander intends to despatch one of her large vessels 
to Honolulu to fetch cattle, and I purpose taking passage by her, 
hoping that I shall thus have time to see something of the Sand- 
wich Isles, and there find letters from you, with such definite plans 
as shall guide me whether to meet you in Australia or Xew Zea- 
land about Christmas. You will scarcely venture to keep the 
children in Fiji any later in the hot season. — "With all loving 
greetings, yours ever, C. F. G. C. 



Paea, Tahiti, Monday, Oct. 15, 1877. 

Dearest ^ell, — "We have had a long and most interesting day, 
and I am pretty well tired out. Still I must begin a journal letter 
to-night, as we start again at daybreak, and I am sure you will wish 
for a detailed account of our trip. 

This morning at 8 a.m. we started on the grand tour da Vile. 
All the luggage of the party had been sent on ahead in heavy 
fourrjonSf as had also the band of the Magicienne, consisting of 
twenty sailors, in a couple of cha7' a bancs. Tahitian outriders, 
carrying the flag of the district, preceded Ariiaue, now King 
Pomare V., who led our procession, in a high dog-cart, accom- 
panied by his brother Tamatoa, and his little nephew Hinoi, son 
of the late Prince Joinvillc. Then followed Admiral Serre, M. 
Hardouin, the A.D.C., and myseK, in a comfortable open carriage, 
and capital horses. Queen Marau came next, with her lovely little 
sister Manihinihi, and Moii's child, Terii-Mae-Vaetua, who is next 
in the succession. Sundry and divers vehicles followed, containing 


about twenty French officers, Mr BarfF as interpreter, and Joseph 

The weather was perfect — not too hot; a brisk trade- wind 
brought the sea roaring and tumbling in heavy breakers on the 
coral-reef, about a mile from the shore, where our road skirted the 
calm lagoon, so blue and peaceful and still. We drove through 
districts which seemed like one vast orchard of mango, bread-fruit, 
banana, faes, large orange-trees, lemons, guavas, citrons, papawas, 
vanilla, coffee, sugar-cane, maize, and cocoa-palm, — together forming 
a succession of the very richest foliage it is possible to conceive. 
Sometimes we amused ourselves by counting such few trees as are 
not fruit-bearing. Here and there the broad grass roads are edged 
with avenues of tall plantains, — very handsome in a dead cahn, but 
too delicate to endure the rough wooing of these riotous trade- 
winds, which tear the huge leaves to ribbons, so that the avenues 
are apt to have a disJasJcet look. 

Even the commonest crops are attractive, — the Indian corn and 
the sugar, each growing to a height of eight or ten feet, with long 
leaves like gigantic grass, and pendent tassels of delicate pink silk. 

"We halted at various points, where deputations had assembled 
to welcome the king, and about eleven o'clock reached Punavia, — 
a lovely spot on the sea-shore, at the mouth of a beautiful valley, 
above which towers Le Diademe (that same crown-shaped moun- 
tain which I told you is so grand as seen from Fautawa valley). 

Of course I had not failed to bring my large sketching-blocks ; 
and, thanks to the kindness of Mr Green, I had been able to 
replace my mildewed paper by a store of French paper, sold by the 
Government offices at Papeete as unfit for use ; but to me, after 
long experience of Fijian mildew, it proved an unspeakable prize. 
j\[. Fayzeau, himself a graceful artist, helped me quickly to select 
the very best spot for a sketch, — from near a ruined French fort 
on the shore. Two small forts, further up the valley recalled the 
days when Tahiti made her brave but unavailing struggle for inde- 

Ere long we were summoned to breakfast, — a native feast in a 
native house, which was decorated in most original style, with large 

184 A lady's cruise, 

patchwork quilts. Tliese are the joy and pride of the Tahitian 
women, and so artistic in design as to be really ornamental. 

To speak correctly, I should call this repast a faamuraa — i.e., 
a feeding : our fish should have been wrapped in plantain- leaves, 
and broiled on the embers ; the pigs baked on hot stones in earth 
ovens, where the peeled bread-fruit and bunches of faes, or moun- 
tain-plantain, should likewise have been cooked; and the only salt 
provid(.'d should have been a little sea-water in a cocoa-nut shell. 
But Taliiti has gone ahead so fast, that I cannot answer for how 
things are done nowadays. I know that, instead of vegetable 
plates — i.e., layers of large round hybiscus-leaves — we ate off 
foreign plates, with knives and forks of best electro-plate, and 
drank our red wine from clearest crystal glasses, and snowy nap- 
kins were not forgotten. 

There was a considerable consumption of raw fish, which is con- 
sidered a very great delicacy, and one for which many foreigners 
acquire a strong liking. There is no accounting for tastes. King 
Ariiaue, who takes great care of me at meals, has been trying to 
teach me this enjoyment, and on my objecting, declares it is mere 
prejudice, as of course I eat oysters raw — we might almost say 
alive. To this I can answer nothing, well remembering the savage 
delight with which we have often knocked our own oysters off 
rocks and branches, and swallowed them on the instant ! But 
then they are so small, and some of these fish are very large. 
Perhaps one's instinctive objection is to their size. Those most 
in favour are of a most exquisite green colour. 

During breakfast, and afterwards, the glee-singers of the district 
sang himenes, which are the national music — most strange and 
beautiful part-songs. Afterwards dancing was suggested; but 
only a few men volunteered to show us the Upa-upa — i.e., the old 
national dance — which is merely an exceedingly ungraceful Avriggle, 
involving violent exertion, till every muscle quivers, and the dancer 
retires panting, and in a condition of vulgar heat. It is the iden- 
tical dance which we saw at the Arab wedding at Port Said, and 
in various other countries — always an unpleasant exhibition. Hap- 
pily the band struck up some gay air, which delighted the people; 


and it continued to play till four o'clock, wlien our procession again 
formed, and another lovely drive along the shore brought us to 

This is a charmingly situated hamlet of clean, comfortable houses, 
only divided from the white coral- sand by a belt of green turf and 
fine old iron- wood trees. Here our night quarters were assigned to 
us ; and certainly we are in clover. I am now sitting in " my own 
room " — one of four good bed-rooms, opening off a large centre 
room, — all fresh and clean, and gay with bright quilts and snowy 
linen. The king and queen, and all the officers, and the band, 
have their quarters in different houses. 

But the pride of the district is its very large house for public 
entertainment, — a long building, rounded at both ends like the 
Tongan houses, with heavy thatch, and very light bamboo sides, 
quite transparent. Here dinner was laid, in European style, for 
300 guests, — an upper table at one end, where the chiefs of the 
district entertained the royal party. Other tables were ranged 
down each side of the building, — each family in the neighbour- 
hood undertaking to provide for one, and there assemble their own 
friends. The whole great building is beautifully decorated in 
Tahitian style, with palm-leaves and tree-ferns, and festoons of 
deep fringe, made of hybiscus fibre, all dyed either yellow or 
white : there must be miles of this fringe on that house. Yellow 
is happily admitted in Court mourning; so the majority of the 
people have either a yellow neck-tie, or some yellow flowers in 
their hats — a symptom of mitigated affliction, to express the 
pleasure that now mingles in their grief for the good queen. 

" Le Roi est mort, — Vive le Eoi ! " 

But everywhere we find all the people clothed in long black 
robes, with black hats and cropped hair, instead of the customary 
bright colours, long glossy tresses, and gay wreaths. Here, even 
the district flag-staff is adorned with a deep fringe of black fibre. 

"We went to dinner in most orthodox fashion, the admiral con- 
ducting Marau, and Ariiaue taking me. The feast was warranted 
to be entirely a Vindig^ne, — all native dishes ; but its great charm 
consisted in the table decorations, which were most ingenious and 

186 A lady's CKUISE. 

effective. Apparently each table had a series of white marble 
centre-vases, which, on close inspection, proved to be graduated 
lumps of the thick fleshy banana-stalk. In these were arranged 
all manner of artificial flowers, made of coloured leaves, or of the 
glossy white arrowroot fibre, or bamboo fibre, which are used in 
making wreaths and hats ; and from some there floated a silvery 
plume of the lightest silky film, like fairy ribbons. This is the 
snowy reva-reva, extracted from the interior of young cocoa-palm 
leaves — a difficult operation, requiring the neatest hand and long 
practice. As yet, I cannot produce more than a few inches un- 
broken. The worker keeps a split stick, stuck in the ground 
beside her, and into its cleft fastens one end of each ribbon as 
she peels it, otherwise the faintest breath of air would blow it 
away. It is the loveliest gossamer you can imagine. 

At the end of the feast Tamatoa gave the example of adorning 
his own hat and those of his neighbours Avith these lovely plumes, 
and all the j^retty arrowroot and bamboo flowers. Then we 
adjourned to the grassy shore, and watched the clear full moon 
rise from the calm sea, wdiile the glee-singers sang their soft 
beautiful choruses. A few men and one or two women began the 
same hideous dance with which they had favoured the company 
in the forenoon, but they met with small encouragement, and the 
singers carried the day — or rather the night. 

I wish it were possible for me to describe Tahitian himhies so 
as to give you the faintest shadow of an idea of their fascination. 
But the thing is utterly impossible. Nothing you have ever heard 
in any other country bears the slightest resemblance to these wild 
exquisite glees, faultless in time and harmony, though apparently 
each singer introduces any variations that occur to him or her. 

The musicians sit on the grass — or the mats, as the case may be, 
— in two divisions, arranged in rows so as to form two squares. 
A space is left between these where the " conductor," should there 
chance to be one, walks up and down, directing the choruses. But 
very often there is no leader, and apparently all sing according to 
their own sweet will. One voice commences : it may be an old 
native tune, with genuine native words (the meaning of which we 


had better not inquire), or it may be a Scriptural story versified, 
and sung to an air originally imported from Europe, but so com- 
pletely Taliitianised that no mortal could recognise it, which is all 
in its favour ; for the wild melodies of this isle are beyond measure 

After one clause of solo, other voices strike in — here, there, 
everywhere — in harmonious chorus. It seems as if one section 
devoted themselves to pouring forth a rippling torrent of Ra, ra, 
ra-ra-ra ! while others burst into a flood of La, la, la-la-la ! Some 
confine their care to sound a deep booming bass in a long-con- 
tinued drone, somewhat suggestive (to my appreciative Highland 
ear) of our own bagpipes. Here and there high falsetto notes 
strike in, varied from verse to verse, and then the choruses of La 
and Ea come bubbling in liquid melody ; while the voices of the 
principal singers now join in unison, now diverge as widely as it is 
possible for them to do, but all combine to produce the quaintest, 
most melodious, rippling glee that ever was heard. Some himenes 
have an accompaniment of measured hand-clapping, by hundreds 
of those present. It is curious in its way, chiefly as a triumph 
of perfect time, but I do not think it attractive. The clear mel- 
lifluous voices need no addition ; and as they ring out suddenly and 
joyously, in the cool evening, I can imagine no sound more in- 

To-night our party received a pleasant addition, the queen's two 
sisters, Moetia and Prie, having driven over from Papeete, on their 
way to join their mother, Mrs Salmon, who, as high chief ess of the 
next district, is to receive her daughter to-morrow morning. 

All the time I have been writing to you, there have been occa- 
sional bursts of himene singing, and of the far less musical accom- 
paniment of the XJpa-uj)a ; but now quiet reigns, so I may as well 
sleep while I can. Good-night. 

Mataiea, Papeoobiri, Tuesday, IGth. 

This morning we were all astir at 5 a.m., and had early cofi'ee on 
the cool verandah. All the luggage was started by 6 o'clock, and 
then I had a quiet hour's sketching from beneath one of the great 

188 A lady's cruise. 

iron-Avood trees [casuarina). At 7 o'clock our procession started; 
every one cheery and good-tempered ; on every side hearty greet- 
ings — " Yarra na ! Yarra na ! " and sounds of careless laughter, 
and merry voices. There is certainly a great charm in this pretty 
liquid language, and in the gentle affectionate manner of the people, 
who seem to be overflowing with genial kindliness. 

As usual, our path lay through such bowers of endlessly varied 
foliage as to form one continuous panorama of delight, i^o 
painter's brush could produce such infinite shades of green as are 
here multiplied, — from the delicate tender hues of the silky young 
banana-leaves, ranging through every description of dark - green 
and bright-green, blue-green and sunlit yellow, till the eye is fain 
to rest on the sombre hair-like foliage of the iron-wood trees, which 
grow on the very brink of the sea, their long tresses literally droop- 
ing to the water. 

"We passed through plantations of coffee, not close -clipped as 
in Ceylon, but growing tall and rank, and overshadowed by cocoa- 
palms, — ^}'et loaded with bright scarlet berries. The coffee shrubs 
are here made to do double duty, and serve as props for the vanilla, 
which is trained to creep all over them, its fragrant pods inter- 
mingling with the coffee cherries. 

The broad road of soft green turf next led us through groves of 
luxuriant bread-fruit trees with large pale-green fruit, dark mango- 
trees and orange -trees alike laden with their half -ripe crop, and 
here and there we passed a fragrant rose-apple tree, the fruit of 
which tastes exactly like the scent of roses. But of all heavenly 
perfumes, commend me to the blossom of the Tahitian chestnut, 
a noble forest-tree, with rich dark foliage, standing out in strong 
relief from the cool grey-greens of the hybiscus, with the lemon- 
coloured blossoms, Avhich clothes the base of the mountains. 

Beyond that belt of cool shadow the great green hills tower in 
strange fantastic form, seamed by deep valleys, down which pour 
crystal streams, so numerous that the sparkling air seems to re-echo 
the musical voice of many waters. Every weird fantastic rock- 
pinnacle is draped by clinging vines, infinite in their variety, and 
all alike lovely ; and the clear sunlight playing on the golden green 


of the mountain-summits, tells that even there, the same wealth of 
all things beautiful abounds. 

This -was the panorama that rose on our left hand as we drove 
along the shore. On our right, like a silver shield, lay the calm 
glittering lagoon, reflecting, as in a mirror, the grand masses cf 
white cloud, and bounded by the long line of breakers, flashing as 
they dashed on the barrier-reef. Beyond these lay outspread the 
vast Pacific, its deep purple flecked with white crests, telling how 
briskly the trade-winds blew outside. And far on the horizon, 
the rugged peaks of Moorea rose, clear and beautiful, robed in 
ethereal lilac. Far above our heads the light fronds of the cocoa- 
palm interlaced, forming a fairy canopy, through Avhich we looked 
up to the clearest blue heaven. I think it must be a cold un- 
thankful heart that could so look up, without some echo of the 
Benedicite — 

" ye mountains and hills, ye seas and floods, all ye green things upon the 
Bless ye the Lord ! praise Him and magnify Him for ever." 

Two hours' drive brought us to Papara, where a very grand 
reception awaited the young king and queen. Mrs Salmon, the 
queen's mother, had assembled all her vassals in most imposing 
array j and a double row of himene singers lined the road, singing 
choruses of congratulation, taken up alternately on the right hand 
and on the left. The eff'ect was very pretty. ]\Iany relations of 
the family had also assembled to greet their royal kinsfolk. 

Very quaint handsome tijyutas were presented to the king and 
the admiral. These are ceremonial garments, reaching from the 
neck to the knee, made from the fibre of bread-fruit bark, and 
covered with floAvers and twists of the glossy arrowroot fibre, each 
stitched on separately. To the queen, the admiral, and myself, were 
presented most lovely crowns of the same silvery arrowroot ; while 
for the gentlemen were provided garlands and necklaces of fragrant 
white or yellow blossoms, and charming hats of white bamboo fibre, 
manufactured by the ladies and their attendants. 

I may as well tell you how the lovely arrowroot fibre is obtained. 

190 A lady's ckuise. 

It is 'the inner coating of the flower-stalk, wliicli is a hollow stem 
like that of hemlock, and grows to a lieight of about four feet. 
These stalks are soaked in running water till the green outer skin 
begins to decay. Then the stalk is laid on a flat wooden board, 
and a woman slits it open from end to end with a sharp shell, with 
which she then proceeds to scrape off every particle of green, and 
there remains a lovely ribbon, like very glossy white satin, ribbed 
longitudinally : with a sharp thorn she divides this into very nar- 
row strips. And this is the material most in use in the art-world 
of Tahiti, being woven by deft fingers into all manner of pretty 
ornaments for hair, dress, and fans. Bamboo is prepared in much 
the same manner, but is a harsher material to work, and much less 

The house at Papara, and the large breakfast-room, were most 
tastefully decorated with great tree-ferns and bright yellow banana- 
leaves, plaited to form a sort of fringe. Wild melodious himenes 
were sung all the time of the feast, and afterwards the band played 
operatic airs till 3 o'clock, when we once more started on our 

In this district much cultivation has impaired the beauty of wild 
nature. Large tracts of land have been laid out for scientific plant- 
ing of cotton and coffee ; and after all, the fields have been aban- 
doned, the crops left to run wild, and are now rank straggling 
bushes struggling for life with the overmastering vines. In itself 
the cotton is a pretty shrub, its yellow blossom with claret-coloured 
heart closely resembling the lemon-coloured hybiscus, while its 
bursting pods offer their soft white flufi" to all comers. But a 
softer, silkier cotton for stuffing pillows, is that obtained from the 
tall cotton-tree, with the scarlet blossom and long green pod. 

We halted at the melancholy deserted plantation of Atiamano, 
which in very recent years was the home of the manager for the 
Tahiti Cotton and Coffee Plantation Company — a reckless specu- 
lator with the capital intrusted to him. IsTever was there a truer 
illustration of the proverb concerning cutting broad thongs from 
other men's leather. 

Mr William Stewart, an ex-cavalry officer, arrived in Tahiti 


about the year 1860, and obtained the sanction of the French 
governor for the purchase of a very large property, to which he 
gave the name of Terre Eugenie, and at once commenced every 
species of improvement. First-class roads, high cultivation, hotels 
which never paid, because of the princely hospitality freely offered 
to all comers in his own splendid country-house ; — these, with his 
genial friendliness and good fellowship, naturally made him the 
most popular man in Tahiti, and one whose praises have been sung 
by all travellers. To work the estates he imported about 1000 
Chinamen, and 300 "foreign labour" from the Central Pacific and 
the Hervey Isles ; and to those he is said to have been a kind 
master, caring for them in sickness as in health, by the provision 
of good hospitals. 

Of course there were not lacking enemies who grudged Mr 
Stewart his apparent success, and many were the virulent attacks 
made upon him by other settlers in the group. Specimens of very 
inferior cotton were circulated in Europe, purporting to be samples 
of the finest growth of Atiamano ; and sensational paragraphs ap- 
peared in various American papers, describing the infamous cruel 
ties of which he and his overseers were declared guilty towards 
their wretched labourers. So damaging were these attacks, that 
]\Ir Stewart demanded a public inquiry, which was granted by the 
French Governor, when all these accusations were proved to be 
iniquitous libels. The little army of 1300 workmen were found 
to be unusually healthy and happy; and the only serious com- 
plaint made to the commissioners was by. the Chinamen, who con- 
sidered it most unfair of Mr Stewart to object to their committing 
suicide by hanging, as the easiest way of paying their gambling 
debts ! 

This cloud of aspersions having been effectually disproved, 
everything looked fair on the surface till, in an evil day, the share- 
holders began to take alarm. 'No title-deeds were forthcoming. 
All capital had evaporated utterly, and in 1874- the luckless 
manager died miserably, and the great bubble burst. Now the 
whole place is falling to ruin, and a more miserable sight I have 
rarely seen. A certain number of the Chinamen still remain — 

192 A lady's ceuise. 

they, of course, can always contrive to pick up a living somehow — 
but the bulk of the large village of wooden houses, once tenanted 
by master and men, now stands empty, the plantation is utterly 
neglected, the cotton-fields are all overgrown with guava scrub, and 
the whole place is a picture of desolation ; nothing flourishes save 
the long avenue of plantains, which, Tahiti fashion, are planted on 
either side of the road. 

It seems strange that no enterprising person should have stepped 
in to buy up the estate which, at the time of Mr Stewart's death, 
was in such good working order ; but, like everything else in this 
country, it has suffered from the meddling propensities of the 
French Government, which, when the estate was declared bankrupt, 
fixed on it an upset price so exorbitant, that no purchaser has yet 
been found, nor is any likely to come forward. 

We have now got into the true orange country. Some of the 
trees here are much larger than the parent trees, which we saw 
near Sydney; and yet, as compared with the orange-groves of 
Malta, we thought the Australian trees were perfect giants — that 
is to say, we could walk upright under their lowest branches. The 
whole air is perfumed with the fragrant blossoms, and boughs have 
been gathered to adorn our rooms. 

Here, though the dining-hall is as fine as in other districts, the 
sleepmg quarters are less inviting, so Marau offered me a room in 
the house assigned to her. Being a native house [i.e., not built of 
wood, as many now are), it is rather like living in a bamboo cage, 
exceedingly airy and transparent ; but it is lined with temporary 
curtains, so we are screened from the general public. This after- 
noon we strolled along the coast till we found a most delightful 
bathing place, where the Anapu, a clear delicious river, flows into 
the sea. The two pretty girls, Manihinihi and Vaetua, of course 
bore us company, as also the queen's handmaid, who was laden 
with pnreos and towels ; the pca-eo being simply a couple of fath- 
oms of bright-coloured calico, which, knotted over one shoulder, 
forms an efficient and picturesque bathing-gown. 

"We returned just in time for such a fish-dinner as Greenwich 
never equalled. Fish of all sorts and kinds (cooked and raw to 


suit all tastes), excellent lobsters and crabs, huge fresli-water 
prawns, delicate little oysters, which grow on the roots and 
branches of the mangrove, which fringes some muddy parts of the 
shore. But most excellent of all is another product of the briny 
mud, altogether new to mo — a hideous but truly delicious white 
cray-fish [cankrelat de mer, my French friends call it, varo or ^vur- 
rali in Tahitian). We have all registered a solemn vow never to 
lose a chance of a varo feast. Then there were shell-fish and salads, 
and many other good things. The tables were decorated in a 
manner quite in keeping with the dishes served, with pillars of 
white banana root-stem, just like alabaster, with a fringe of large 
prawns at the top, and a frieze of small lobsters below — a very 
effective study of scarlet and white. 

After the feast we all sat out in the moonlight, listening to the 
liimene singing, which, I need scarcely say, was lovely. But of 
course some districts excel, and have finer voices, more practice, 
and a better conductor. 

I have just been told that we are only thirty-five miles from 
Papeete. We have taken the journey in such enjoyably short 
stages, that we have certainly made the most of our distance. 
Now we are approaching the southern peninsula, wdiich is con- 
nected with this, the main isle, by a comparatively low wide ridge. 
This Ave are to cross to-morrow. 

On the Peninsula, Taravou, 
Wednesday, 17 th. 

This morning at daybreak the admiral went off to attend Mass, 
and then examine the schools. He seems inclined to administer 
very even-handed justice between the Catholics and Protestants, 
which does not greatly gratify some of the priests. We spent the 
morning pleasantly strolling about the village of bird-cage houses 
embowered in the orange-groves, and gay Avith rosy oleanders and 
crimson hybiscus. 

At eight we started. The weather was threatening ; and soon 
heavy rain came on, Avhich mocked our Avaterproofs, and gave us a 
thorough soaking, Avhich Ave all bore philosophically, only rcgret- 



ting that we drove through a most lovely ferny pass at a moment 
when all our umbrellas were striving to exclude the rain, in which 
they failed, and only succeeded in hiding the view. 

^Xear the village of Papeari we found all the children of the 
Catholic school, headed hj a very pleasant, keen-looking young 
priest; drawn up witli the himme singers to welcome the king and 
the admiraL Of course they were all drenched, but none the less 
musical. At the head of the singers stood Marau's aunt, Minito, a 
true Tahitian chiefess, sister to ]\Irs Salmon, and Avidow of j\Ir 
Sumner, a Sandwich Island half-white. 

The rain having ceased, we all walked together to Mrs Sumner's 
house, where we were partially dried — no fear of fever in this 
blessed climate. AVe then proceeded to the large cheferie, where 
breakfast was prepared in the usual style — the house prettily 
decorated with flags, tree-ferns, and plaited cocoa-palm leaves. 
The tables were all adorned with ornaments made of the solid 
white banana-stalk, in which were set branches of thorny lemon, 
and on each thorn were stuck dijfferent blossoms, scarlet or yellow 
hybiscus, canna, and gardenia. "When we were seated, women 
came round bearing garlands of the delicate artificial arrowroot 
flowers, and crowned every one of us. Many of the party had 
already secured filmy plumes of the snowy reva-reva ; and the 
majority of the women, following the good example of Marau, 
no longer pretend to have cut off their beautiful hair, but now 
wear it in two long jet-black tresses, adorned with gardenias or 
such other fragrant blossoms as they may find. With flowers 
as necklaces and ear-rings, the Court mourning is becoming less 

After breakfast, hlmenes as usual, with interludes of most hid- 
eous dancing. There is never any variety, always the same utterly 
ungraceful wriggle. Happily the band generally comes to the 
rescue, with some attractive air, which puts the dancers to flight. 
There never seem to be more than two or three, and these do it as 
a professional exhibition — as a curious relic of olden times. 

It does seem strange (accustomed as I now am to the endlessly 
varied and most graceful dances of the Fijians) to find that these 


Taliitians liave apparently no notion of dancing, except this Upn- 
ujM, which for many years was discountenanced by the chiefs, in 
their first anxiety to put away every trace of heathenism. But 
under French influence it has been revived ; and though the more 
respectable natives consider it an objectionable exhibition, and one 
in which few care to join, a certain number of dancers crop up at 
every village where we halt : their position, however, appears to be 
no higher than that of strolling jugglers at English fairs. 

In heathen days the Upa-iipa was the distinguishing dance of 
an atrocious sect called the Areois — religious fanatics and liber- 
tines of the vilest order, who were held in reverent awe by the 
people, and allowed every sort of privilege. They travelled from 
village to village in very large companies, sometimes filling from 
fifty to eighty canoes. Whenever they landed great sacrifices were 
offered to the gods ; and for so long as they chose to remain in one 
place, they were the honoured guests of the chief, and had to be 
provided for by the villagers, whom they entertained by acting 
pantomimes and reciting legends of the very unholy gods, singing 
songs in their honour, wrestling, gesticulating, and dancing, till 
they worked themselves tip to a pitch of frenzy which was consid- 
ered religious, and the night was spent in wild orgies. Their full 
dress on these occasions generally consisted only of a little scarlet 
and black dye ; the seeds of the vermilion-plant and charcoal fur- 
nishing the materials. At other times they wore kilts of the 
yellow drac8ena and wreaths of scarlet Barringtonia. 

They were divided into distinct classes, distinguished by the 
manner in which they were tattooed. The lowest class had merely 
a circle round the ankle ; the next had one stripe on the left side ; 
the third was marked on each shoulder ; the fourth on both sides, 
round the body ; the fifth was tattooed from the fingers to the 
shoulders, and the leaders were adorned with stockings of the 
same. The imprinting of these indelible class-marks was part of 
a religious festival, at which great ofterings of food and goods 
were presented to the gods, and to these their servants, and on 
this one occasion women, were allowed freely to partake of the 
feast, and to eat of the meat Avhich had been oflered in sacrifice, 

196 A lady's cruise. 

which at other times they dared not touch without incurring the 
penalty of death. 

The most horrible feature of this society was, that by its pri- 
mary law no Areoi was allowed to rear his offspring. Celibacy was 
by no means enjoined — very much the reverse ; indeed each Areoi 
had an acknowledged wife, who was a member of the society : 
but of the innumerable children of these favoured sinners, not one 
was ever suffered to live; and any person desiring to enter the 
holy brotherhood, was required in the first instance to murder any 
children he might already have. The sect was supposed to have 
been divinely instituted, and its members were sure of admission 
to the Rohutu noa-noa, or fragrant paradise, in which the blessed 
Avere to spend an eternity of feasting, with every delight that 
heart or flesh could desire. 

The total extinction of this society was one of the most marked 
triumphs of Christianity in this group; and the early missionaries 
record with thankful wonder, that many Areois were among their 
earliest and most zealous converts and steady adherents, and be- 
came hard-working and successful teachers and native missionaries, 
striving with their whole energy to counteract the evils in which 
they had hitherto been prime movers. 

Such being the associations connected with tliis most unattrac- 
tive dance, it certainly is strange to read the regrets, expressed by 
various travellers, that the missionaries should have seen fit to 
discourage it, as if in so doing they had deprived the people of 
some delightful pleasure. It is a very different thing from the 
beautiful and artistic dances of Fiji, which the Wesleyan Mission 
have so wisely encouraged the people to retain, even at their school 
and church festivals. 

This afternoon was clear and bright, and the drive to the isthmus 
and then up the ridge was very beautiful. Part of the road lay 
through, a real jungle of large orange-trees laden with ripe fruit. 
I need not say how we feasted ; as did also herds of many pigs, 
that wander at large through these enchanting thickets, and find 
an ample supply of fruit which falls unheeded on the grass — true 
windfalls ! It is from these groves that cargoes of several hun- 


dred thousand oranges are carried to San Francisco by every oppor- 

Imagine the joy of some poor ragged-school child, whose one 
treat is an orange at Christmas, and whose home is in the slums of 
any of our horrible cities, could it but wake to find itself in this 
elysium. I remember Dr Guthrie's ragged schools coming to spend 
one day at Winton Castle Avith dear old Lady Euthven, and the 
teachers told me that there were many children present who had 
never before in their short lives set foot in the country. "Would 
that they could aU be transported for a while to the orange-groves 
of Tahiti ! 

To-day we also passed some large vanilla plantations, in admir- 
able order. The vanilla is a creeper, and is planted at the foot 
of some shady shrub, up which it climbs and twines among the 
branches. To economise labour and space, two crops are combined, 
by training the vanilla over either coffee-bushes or the vermilion- 
tree, which carries its bright seeds in small pods. The vanilla 
itself is a precarious crop, requiring much watchful care at each 
stage of its growth, which, however, it well repays, as it fetches 
four dollars per pound. Moreover, it is a fragrant harvest. 

This place is a military station ; the French have a fort here, and 
some soldiers. I believe that political offenders are sent to Taravou 
to expiate their supposed misdeeds within its walls. M. de Damian, 
commandant of the fort, had provided comfortable quarters for the 
admiral and his party at his own house, and an excellent room was 
most kindly assigned to me. Marau and Ariiaue have gone on to 
another village, where we are to join them in the morning. 

The French soldiers here employ some of their leisure hours in 
the care of a garden, which rewards them with excellent vegetables 
and glorious roses. I had the delight of arranging delicious nose- 
gays for the dinner-table this evening, and have a lovely bunch of 
roses now beside me. 

It is again raining heavily, but we rejoice thereat, for generally a 
deluge of rain at night is followed by a clear balmy morning, and 
all the lovely vegetation appears in its freshest glory. 

Now I must bid you good-night. 

]98 A lady's cruise. 



PuEU, Thursday, \Sth. 

We woke this morning to find tliis beautiful world bathed in. 
sunshine, and I slipped out for a lovely early stroll along the shore. 
There was a great calm, the sea literally without a ripple, reflecting 
the mellow tones of the sky. I followed a wide grass road passing 
through a cocoa plantation — luxuriant young palms of all ages, the 
ground beneath them carpeted with succulent grasses ; a combina- 
tion of fresh greens delightful to the eye. I think the heavy rain 
must have driven aU the land-crabs out of their holes, for truly 
they were legion, and all were busily feeding, till, aware of a foot- 
step, they darted back to their burrows. In some spots they clus- 
tered in such numbers that the whole bank seemed in motion. 
Some of these are as large as a good Scotch " parten ; " but there 
are also a vast number of the tiny crab, with one large bright- 
coloured claw, which love the muddy shore at the mouth of the 
rivers, where you may see them by the thousand, feeding busily 
with a tiny claw while holding the large one before them as a 
shield. Evidently, however, they know discretion to be the better 
part of valour, for at the faintest movement which reveals the ap- 
proach of danger they vanish into their mud-holes faster than the 
twinkling of an eye. 

Our morning halt was at Afaahiti, a small village of which the 
king himself is the chief, for which reason it had been arranged 
that he should sleep there last night. We found Marau and the 
ladies of the village stringing wreaths of sweet white blossoms, with 
which they crowned themselves and us ; and then we all adjourned 
to breakfast in a bamboo house, decorated in the usual style with 
twisted and plaited leaves, and deep fringes of dyed fibre. Himhies, 
of course, — and then, while the band entertained the people, we, the 
unquiet spirits, wandered down to explore the shore, which is over- 


shadowed by large trees, beneath Avhich we found various kinds of 
large shells. 

At noon we drove on to Pueu, where we were welcomed by a 
very large assemblage, and conducted to the cheferie or district hall, 
really a splendid room, Avith a beautiful floor : it is like a great 
ball-room. All the dining-tables Avere set at one end, Avhile nine 
very pretty beds, with artistic crimson and white quilts, and mos- 
quito-nets tied up with bright ribbons, Avere ranged down one side 
of the room. I am ashamed to say that we all took a most un- 
courteous fit of laughing ; for really at the first glimpse the row of 
beds seemed to multiply, and we fancied we were all to occupy this 
one room ; but we soon discovered that only the junior officers Avere 
to share it, and that excellent quarters had been prepared for ns all 
in different houses. The best house of three rooms was assigned 
to the admiral, his son, and myself; and here I am noAV cosily 
ensconced for a chat Avith you. My room, which opens out into 
the verandah, has no doors, so my black Avaterproof sheet and the 
green tartan plaid, inseparable companion of all my Avanderings east 
or west, act as good curtains. 

This is a lovely place. In the afternoon Ave roamed through 
fragrant orange-groves, and along the beautiful shore, and I man- 
aged to secure a sketch of the Adllage. As a matter of course 
there is -a large Protestant church, of which all the population 
are members, and a tiny Koman Catholic chapel, without any con- 

An exceedingly pretty banquet aAvaited us in the large cheferie, 
after Avhich Ave strolled about in the lovely moonlight, AAdiile the 
village choirs sang their melodious liimhnes. At a very short dis- 
tance they sound like full-toned cathedral chimes. 

Chez M. Damian, Taravou, 
Friday, 19Wt. 

At grey daAvn Queen ^Marau came to my room to early tea, and 
told me that the house Avhich had been assigned to her and the 
king Avas so purely native, that they had no beds — only mats and 
pilloAVS — no hardship in this delightful climate, but a curious dis- 


tribution of hospitality, when to each young lieutenant had been 
assigned so luxuriant a couch. 

The drive along the peninsula was most lovely. Always by the 
broad green road running close to the sea, and passing through 
richest foliage of all sorts and forms ; crossing crystalline streams 
which flowed down beautiful glens, with great shapely hills on 
either side, and some lonely peak towering at the head of the dark 
ravine, AVe came to one broad river whence the view was so lovely 
that the admiral most kindly decided to let one of the carriages 
wait while I sketched ; an arrangement highly satisfactory to its 
occupants, who went off for a bathe in the clear delicious stream, 
while I stood on the bridge and worked diligently till the last of 
our heavy baggage-carts came across, and proved to be the last 
straw which that poor bridge could bear. An ominous crack, then 
a crash, and the heavy fourgon had broken through the bridge, but 
happily rested on the strong cross timbers, and with infinite trouble 
it was unloaded and raised. Then the bridge had to be repaired, 
as we were to retrace the same road in the afternoon; when the 
other end gave way and broke down, happily without doing serious 

A short drive brought us to Tautira, a large, very pretty village, 
where the men were playing at spear-throwing. This is the first 
place where we have seen any sort of game played. The admiral, 
according to his custom, inspected the schools, and pronounced a 
verdict not altogether encouraging on the work of a young priest, 
who was setting the children to such useful tasks as copying " mon 
ame est souille de p^ch^s ! ^ off a large black slate ; they being 
almost as ignorant of French as he of Tahitian. The admiral dis- 
courages the teaching of French, especially to the girls, rightly 
judging that such knowledge will prove by no means to their moral 

"We were, as usual, most hospitably entertained with all the 

village could give, of fish and fruit, flesh and fowl. Everywhere 

those excellent white crayfish, the varo, are our chief delicacy. 

Here and there pine-apples are produced, but they are very poor, 

I My soul is dufiled witli sin. 


probably uncultivated. The liimhies at Tautira were exceedingly 
pretty, and we left that pleasant " world's end " with much regret. 
The carriage-road does not extend round the peninsula, so we had 
to return to the isthmus to start afresh. We reached Taravou in 
time for dinner, and found the roses beautiful as before. 

In a Native House, Teahacpoo, 
Saturday, 20th. 

Early this morning we were once more en route, and drove to 
the other side of the peninsula, which is, if possible, even lovelier 
than what we saw yesterday. Marau and the king had preceded 
us to the village of Vairao, where the ladies had employed the 
morning in preparing garlands of a white flower, like jessamine, 
with which they crowned us. This village is poor; so instead 
of receiving us in a fine district house, the people had erected 
very picturesque booths on three sides of a square. The chorus- 
singers Avere grouped on the grass in the centre, where were also 
heaped up the usual ceremonial offerings of fruit and pigs — ap- 
parently for show — as there is always an ample supply of food on 
the tables. 

Here, in addition to the usual vegetables, yams, and taro, sweet- 
potatoes, bread-fruit, and faees roasted in wood-ashes, we had cala- 
bashes of sticky 2)oi, which is a preparation of ripe bread-fruit, 
greatly in favour with the natives, and which in old times was the 
principal food of this island, as it still is in Hawaii. I do not 
think it was ever used in the isles further west, where the bread- 
fruit is a very inferior tree to what it is in this, its native home. 
Most of the 2^01 which is consumed in Hawaii is made from taro, 
and is of a pinkish colour. Here taro is the luxury, bread-fruit 
the staff of life, so it alone is used. When eaten fresh Avith milk 
it tastes rather like gooseberry-fool ; but the natives prefer it fer- 
mented, and consequently sour. 

The pulpy fruit is first pounded with a stone pestle in a wooden 
bowl, till it attains the consistency of dough. It is then wrapped 
in leaves and baked in an earth-oven over red-hot stones. Finally, 

202 A lady's cruise. 

it is beaten up -with water till it becomes a glutinous yellowish 
mass, indescribably sticky, and with a slightly acid llavour. 

To the initiated there is always a malicious pleasure in watching 
the undignified efforts of a new hand at dipping into this dish; 
for of course there are no spoons or forks in the question ; and a 
stranger, seeing the neatness with which an experienced hand feeds 
himself, is apt to imagine that it is all plain sailing, and so plunges 
recklessly into this most adhesive paste, probably with the result 
of lifting the whole calabash, instead of the mouthful he expected. 
The correct method is to dip the forefinger of the right hand in 
the bowl, and as you draw it out smoothly coated with ^;oz, give it 
a series of rapid twirls to prevent its hanging in glutinous strings ; 
then with a final flourish, to keep it from dripping, land the finger 
in the mouth, and draw it back quite free from the paste, and 
ready to repeat the process. Two or more persons generally eat 
out of the same bowl, in which case they have cocoa-nut shells of 
fresh water beside them in which to w\ash their finger before dip- 
ping again in the poi ; but it really does not much matter, as the 
preparation is so very sticky that you must of necessity appropriate 
every particle you touch, so you and your neighbour are in no 
danger of exchanging atoms ! as you would be, in sharing a bowl 
of well-chewed Icava. 

That beverage of the isles did not appear at this native feast ; in 
fact I have never seen it in Tahiti, and suppose it must have died 
out before the superior attractions of orange-rum and similar decoc- 
tions. On the present occasion, cocoa-nuts were the only drink, 
with the exception of pure water. As regards the latter, I was 
much struck by an ingenious substitute for water-jars. At every 
supporting post of the booths was fastened an upright bamboo, 
perhaps twelve feet in length, and pierced from end to end, only 
the lowest joint being left intact. Here a spigot was introduced, 
and the bamboo being filled with water, supplied drink for all the 
thirsty multitude. As drinking- cups, the people here still use 
cocoa-nut cups, scraped very thin and polished by constant friction 
on a stone in water, till they become as light, and almost as trans- 
parent, as tortoise-shell. The Idmenes here Avere the prettiest we 


have yet heard, and you can understand that Ave are by this time 
quite connoisseurs in this pecuUar music. The Ujpa-upa was 
danced with unusual zest, but was none the less ungraceful. 

Another most exquisite drive brought us to Teahaupoo, where 
we wandered about, lost in admiration, while the king and tlie 
admiral were undergoing the usual official speeches. The feast 
this evening was rather dull, being spread along one side of a very 
long and dimly lighted table. Of course we always require arti- 
ficial light for dinner, as, in the tropics, the sun sets all the year 
round at about six o'clock, rising at about the same hour in the 
morning. We often think enviously of your long summer twilight. 
But then, on the other hand, we have no short, dark, winter days. 
Again to-night the Mmhie singing was unusually fascinating. It 
varies mi;ch, and the most charming glees are those which are 
most suggestive of musical chimes. 

Queen Marau offered me quarters in the large native hous-e 
awarded to her and Ariiaue, It consisted of one large room 
without divisions, containing several good beds, Avith the usual 
pretty bright quilts and mosquito-nets. "We curtained off one 
end of the room for the king and an old chief, and they are noAv 
sleeping peacefully, as Ave should also be doing — so good-night. 

Taeavou, Sunday, 2lst. 

Being a light sleeper, I Avas aAvakened long before daAvn by 
hearing Ariiaue and his companion astir, and soon after 4 a.m, 
they started for Afaahiti, the king's OAvn village. The rain Avas 
pouring in a pitiless, relentless fashion ; and beat in beneath the 
Avide eaves against the open AA'alls of our bird-cage house. Still Ave 
Avould fain have stayed Avhere Ave Avere, and reluctantly obeyed 
the order to be en voiture at seven o'clock, to return to the isthmus. 
The rain never ceased, and all the beauty Avhich gladdened us 
yesterdaj' AA'as invisible. Only sheets of grey drifting cloud, and 
dripping trees, dripping carriages, horses, and umbrellas. AVe h^ft 
Marau at Afaahiti, Avhile Ave drove on to these noAV familiar 
quarters, AA'here I have the luxury of a large, good room. Of 


course we all arrived soaked, and have spent the day in trying to 
get dry. I think most of the gentlemen have managed a few 
hours of sleep. 

In the Cheferie, 'Mahaesa, Monday, 22i. 

An early drive brought us to Hitiaa, the house of little Hinoi's 
mother, the pretty young widow of the Prince de Joinville. Every- 
thing here was very gracefully done, and the festival as purely 
native as possible. Here the severity of Court mourning was not 
mitigated, and all the women wore crowns of fibre dyed black, 
which looked very sombre. 

Immediately after breakfast we started for Mahaena, preceded 
by a party of six or eight picturesque lancers, who had formed 
part of old Queen Pomare's body-guard. They added a pleasant 
feature to the beautiful scenery as they rode along the green glades, 
through the usual successions of glorious foliage; — groves of mag- 
nificent bread-fruit trees, indigenous to those isles ; next a clump of 
noble mango-trees, recently imported, but now quite at home ; then 
a group of tall palms, or a long avenue of gigantic bananas, their 
leaves, sometimes twelve feet long, meeting over our heads. Then 
came patches of sugar or Indian corn, and next a plantation of 
vaniUa, trained to climb over closely planted tall cofi"ee, or else over 
A'ermilion-bushes. Sometimes it is planted, without more ado, at 
the root of pruned guava-bushes. These grow wild over the whole 
country, loaded with large, excellent fruit, and, moreover, supply 
the whole fuel of the isles, and good food for cattle. They are all 
self-sown, — descendants of a few plants introduced as garden fruit- 
trees, — and now they have overrun the isles and are looked upon 
by the planters as a curse, because of the rapidity and tenacity 
with which they take possession of any patch of neglected land. 
Yet a plant which so generously yields food for man and beast, 
and abundant fuel, is surely not altogether evil ! Amongst all this 
wealth of food-producing vegetation, I sometimes looked in vain 
for any trees that were merely ornamental ; and literally there were 
only the yellow hybiscus, Avhich yields the useful fibre, and the 
candle-nut, covered with clusters of white blossoms, somewhat 


resembling -white lilac, and bearing nuts with oily kernels, whence 
the tree derives its name. 

The method of manufacturing candles from candle-nuts is de- 
lightfully simple. First the nuts are lightly baked, to render their 
very hard shell more brittle ; the kernels are thus obtained whole, 
and a hole being bored in each, about a dozen are strung together 
on the mid-rib of a palm-leaf, which acts as the wick, and the oily 
nuts, each the size of a walnut, burn slowly with a dim light and 
oppressive smell. 

On our arrival here, we were met by a messenger from Papeete, 
announcing an outbreak of a serious form of influenza, from Avhich 
the king's aunt died this morning. This -is a great grief to the 
royal brothers, Avho at once started to attend her funeral. Ties of 
family affection appear to be very strong in Tahiti, and this sad 
news has cast a gloom on everything. It is very grievous for our 
hosts, who had made their preparations with great care, and were 
looking forward to this opportunity of testifying their loyalty. 

The river here is lovely. Marau and I bathed together, and I 
spent the afternoon sketching. During the evening Mmenes, we 
all sat in pleasant groups on the shore, or strolled along to the 
mouth of the river. For our night-quarters, this large district 
house has been divided by temporary screens, charmingly decorated 
with quaintly knotted palm-leaves and tree-ferns. I share one of 
these divisions with the queen, the admiral and his son occupy the 
next, and all the other gentlemen have disposed of themselves at 
the further end. 

Papenoo, Tuesday, 23d, 

Last night, for the first time, we were all devoured by fleas, and 
a chorus of aggravation arose from all sides of the pretty cheferie. 
Everything was beautifully clean, so we attribute the presence of 
these unwelcome intruders to the fact that the hay, which is 
always laid as a carpet on the wooden floor, must have been too 

We all compared notes of distress over our morning coffee — 
then, as usual, forgot all save the beauty of the scenery as we 

20G A lady's cruise. 

drove along the shore to Tiarei, Avhore a temporary avenue of faces, 
or wild banana, had been planted with infinite trouble and at a 
great sacrifice of fine fruit-bearing plants. The peculiarity of the 
faees^ is, that instead of carrying its huge cluster of fruit pendent, 
beneath its broad leaves, it carries it upright in the centre. The 
faces invariably grow in the most inaccessible ravines and crevices 
of the rock ; so it must have been a troublesome task to carry these 
down, without injur j'' to the large delicate leaves. 

"We were welcomed by a large family of chiefs, and specially by 
a kind old lady, who kissed us all on both cheeks, down to M. 
llardouin, A.D.C., when Marau's untimely laughter stopped her 
proceeding to the remaining eighteen officers ! Though the absence 
of the kmg must have made it rather flat for the chiefs, the official 
speeches were made to the admiral, and the Mmencs sung as usual. 

Then followed a most lovely drive, the road cut along the face 
of basaltic cliff's, and here we are close to another very fine river, 
which of course implies pleasant bathing and sketching. This 
evening we had a delightful stroll along the shore, the wavelets 
breaking on a pebbly beach. At the last moment, the moon rose 
glorious from the sea — a vision of great beauty. 

"VVe are very comfortably housed to-night in the chief's own 
house. Marau and I occupy one end, and his family have the 

Chez Rev. James Green, Papeete, Oct. 25th. 

Late last night we returned to headquarters, and I to this pleas- 
ant nest, very glad of the prospect of a few days' rest. Yesterday 
Avas a long day, for I was out sketching Avith the first ray of light, 
and worked till it was time to start for the Haapepe district, of 
which the king's brother, Terii Tapunui is chief. He is distress- 
ingly lame, but is a very good fellow, with a particularly nice wife, 
a cousin of the charming Moe. She is noted for her skill in mak- 
ing pretty hats. They received us at Point Venus, so called be- 
cause Captain Cook thence observed the transit of Venus in 1769. 

I'omare and Tamatoa rejoined the party after returning from 
1 Musa wayiascojni.s. 


tlieir aunt's funeral; and tlic three brothers spent the afternoon 
together by themselves — a wise course, as Tamatoa had striven so 
hard to drown his grief, that he had attained a jocose-beatific con- 
dition, very annoying to the king, who all this time has been a 
model of sobriety, greatly to the delight of the admiral. 

This quiet little village presents the usual anomaly of a very 
large Eoman Catholic church without a congregation, standing 
close to the original congregational church. The latter is a large 
cool building, in wiiich I gladly took refuge to escape from noise 
and heat ; for several friends who had driven down from Papeete 
to meet ns, were so delighted to find a smooth carpet, that they 
commenced dancing immediately after late breakfast, and kept it 
up merrily all the afternoon. 

When the heat began to subside I found my way to the great 
lighthouse, where the French officials were most obliging, and did 
the honours of their lofty tower with all courtesy. From the 
summit there is a grand view of mountains, including Orofena, 
which is the highest point of Tahiti — height 7336 feet. At our 
feet lay the village, concealed by a sea of waving palms, only their 
crowns visible, and rippling like running Avater as the light breeze 
passed over them. It was a splendid sketching-point, and I held 
my ground till a party of the dancers came to summon me to the 

Then followed as pretty a scene as I have ever witnessed. We 
had to drive twelve miles to Papeete ; and as the nights are dark, 
and the moon was not due till towards midnight, we knew that 
torches would be required — but oidy expected the necessary num- 
ber. The Tahitians had, however, resolved on a demonstration, to 
show their appreciation of the course adopted by the admiral, and 
their gratitude for his sympathy. So when we had toiled up a 
long steep hill, about three miles from Point Venus, we were met 
by a company of stalwart men carrying blazing torches of cocoa- 
palm leaves, about twelve feet long. These turned and preceded 
us, their numbers receiving continual reinforcements, some on horse- 
back, some on foot, till they mustered fully a thousand, and the 
ruddy glare of the torches iUumined the rich masses of foliage. 

208 A lady's cruise. 

gleaming on tlie glossy leaves of tlie bread-fruit, and the bright 
sword-like fronds of the palms, while the lurid smoke lent some- 
thing of cloudy mystery to the whole. Add to this, the presence 
of all the inhabitants, who of course poured out from every bird- 
cage cottage along the road and joined the procession, adding their 
quota of mirth and chatter to the general hubbub. Of course with 
so many walkers we could only progress at a foot's pace, and nine 
miles of this at last became somewhat bewildering ; it seemed as if. 
we were moving in a strange dream. A party of native drummers 
added their very trying " music " to the general noise ; but happily 
the band fell into the spirit of the thing, and though their after- 
noon's work fully entitled them to rest, they played at intervals all 
the way. 

At the outskirts of the town there was a halt, and in obedience 
to municipal regulations every torch was extinguished, and we 
entered the ill-lighted town in almost complete darkness. It was 
a wise precaution, however, as the air was full of flying sparks, and 
a conflagration would make short work of the dry wooden houses. 
Happily the large crowd was quiet and orderly ; and so far as I 
am aware, I myself am the only suff'erer from that half - hour's 
darkness, during Avhich my beloved green plaid was abstracted 
from the bundle in which I had placed it. I think I know the 
thief — at least I have the strongest reason to suspect a half-caste, 
in no way connected with Tahiti, save by residence. But I fear 
there is not the slightest hope of ever recovering it. It was a large 
green plaid, of " Black Watch " tartan, which has been my insepar- 
able companion and delight for many a year, and in many a strange 
place. I have slept in it on the top of Adam's Peak, and in the 
■wonderful jungle cities of Ceylon, and it has travelled to the re- 
motest corners of Australasia and Polynesia, and many and varied 
are its associations with people and things. 

" Oh, my plaid was dear to me ! " 

and deeply do I abhor the covetous thief who has robbed me, so 
infinitely beyond the value of a few fathoms of tartan ; 

" For we cannot buy with gold 
The old associations." 


Quite a number of the neighboiars have called here to-day, and 
welcomed me hack as if I were an old friend returning from a 
long journey. There is a cordiality and a heartiness about them ail, 
which is truly delightful. How different from a return to England 
after a few years' absence, when the people you had supposed to be 
intimate friends vaguely ask you " if you haven't been somewhere 
abroad 1 " and perhaps, if they are unusually hospitable, invite you 
to luncheon the folloAving week ! 

Friday, 26th. 

This morning Narii Salmon took me on board the Seignelay to 
see my old friends and my old quarters. They welcomed me back 
most heartily, and seemed really glad that I had seen the isle to 
such advantage — bvt they themselves were all duU and sad. Time 
has as yet done nothing to heal their grief, and indeed the ship 
seems altogether changed, even externally, for she has been painted 
white, to match La Magicienne. 

I returned with Narii to breakfast with his sister, Mrs Brander; 
there we were joined by the admiral, who came to make arrange- 
ments with her for the next part of the programme ; for she is as 
sensible as she is handsome, which is saying much, and her opinions 
and suggestions carry great weight with every one. 

Already preparations are being made for another grand expedi- 
tion, for there are several lesser isles subject to the king of Tahiti ; 
and next week the Seignelay is to convey the king and queen and 
their party to Moorea, the beautiful island which we passed on the 
morning of our arrival in Tahiti, and of which Mrs Brander is the 
high chiefess. 

I hear that there is a chance of letters being despatched by some 
vessel, so I may as well close this. . . . Your loving sister. 

210 A lady's cruise. 



Vhez THE Rev. James Green, Oct. Ilih. 

I have had a day after my own lieart. In the early morning 
Mr Green drove me to the foot of the semapliore hill, up -which I 
toiled, and gave myself into the care of the old sailor who lives 
there, watching the horizon for the first glimpse of a sail, and then 
hoists signals by which the good folk of Papeete learn from what 
direction the new-comer may be expected. Then, as she draws 
nearer, the signals reveal her class and her nationality. 

I remained for several hours, working up an elaborate drawing, 
begun soon after my arrival. The view of the town and harbour, 
as seen from this point, is truly lovely, and the effect of a coral- 
reef, as you look down on it from a height, is always fascinating. 
Every conceivable tint seems to play beneath the surface — browns 
and golds blending with pale aqua-marine and sparkling emerald, 
while turquoise and cerulean pass into delicate lilac and purply 
blue. The reef appears from the semaphore to lie in the form of a 
horse-shoe, so that it literally suggests a rainbow beneath the 

By the time Mr Green came to drive me back to breakfast, I 
was truly glad to escape from the blazing sun, and to rest in this 
pleasant home during the hot hours. 

Late in the afternoon JSTarii lent us a boat, in which we rowed 
out to the reef, always to me one of the most enchanting ploys that 
can be conceived ; and here it gains an additional charm from an 
extraordinary phenomenon in the tides, which I am told occurs 
throughout the Society Isles, but in no other place that I ever 
heard of — namely, that they never vary from one year's end to 
another. Day after day they ebb and flow with unchanging regu- 
larity. At noonday and at midnight the tide is invariably at the 


full ; while at suurise and sunset — in other Avords, at six o'clock 
morning and evening — throughout the year, it is low water. The 
rise and fall rarely exceeds two feet ; but periodically, at an interval 
of about six months, a mighty sea comes rolling in from the west 
or south-Avest, and, sweeping over the reef, bursts violently on the 

I do not know whether any scientific theory has been propounded 
concerning this tidal eccentricity, which is perhaps the most remark- 
able thing connected with the group. 

I believe some Avriters have tried to account for it by reference 
to the trade-winds, Avhich blow so steadily at certain hours of the 
day ; but these must have been very inaccurate observers, as the 
tides rise and fall with equal regularity in the most sultry calm or 
the most riotous sea-breeze. In fact they are sometimes rather 
higher in dead calms, and on the leeward side of the isles, whicli 
are sheltered from the trade-winds. In any case, these blow only 
in the daytime, and die away entirely at night. Curiously enough, 
they do not even affect the periodical flood-tides, or rather tidal 
Avaves, of which I spoke just now, as these invariably come from 
the westward, whereas the trade-winds blow steadily from the east. 
So punctual is the daily rise and fall of the tides, that the accus- 
tomed eyes of the people can discern the hour of the day by a 
glance at the shore or the reef, as at a marine chronometer, which 
here never loses or gains time. 

The peculiar charm of this, as concerns the reef, is that the low 
tide, Avhich is the hour of delight, always occurs at the coolest 
hours of morning and evening, so there is no temptation to incur 
sunstroke by exposure to the noontide rays. And the reef at 
Tahiti is, beyond all question, the richest I have seen. It seems to 
me that all the marvels of the Fijian reef are here reproduced on a 
magnified scale — the mysterious zoophytes are larger, their colours 
more intense, the forms of the fish more varied and eccentric, and 
their scaly dress striped and zigzagged Avith patterns like those on an 
ingenious cloAvn, or perhaps suggestive of quaint heraldry. 

To-night I saw some gigantic specimens of that wonderful star- 
fish Ave first found in Fiji, Avith fifteen arms covered Avith very 


sliarp grey and orange spines like those of an ecliinus, and an 
underside of pale-yellow fleshy feelers with suckers like those of 
the sea-anemone ^ — a marvellously uncanny-looking compound. I 
also saw thousands of prickly sea-urchins of divers sorts, from the 
heavy acrocladia,^ with spikes as large as your fingers and heavy as 
stone, to the very brittle species no larger than a pigeon's egg, and 
covered with piercing needles live or six inches long — a particularly 
unpleasant creature to step upon, especially with bare feet, as the 
Datives have. These echini are of all colours, from the richest 
znaroon and claret to purple and blue. Some are suggestive of 
large full-blown thistles, and all more or less resemble hedgehogs 
or porcupines. One very delicate fiat kind is pure white, and 
marked on the back with a very finely traced double star. 

Some of the water-snakes are very beautifully marked with blue, 
gold, or green bars on a velvety black grouud ; they glide and coil 
themselves in and out of the coral branches. I was much struck 
by the immense size of some sea-anemones, as large as a wash-hand 
basin : these also, are of all sorts of colours. These are the chosen 
play-fellows of most exquisite tiny fish, like morsels of black velvet, 
with a pattern exactly like a fairy peacock's feather on either gilL 
Not one of these exceeded two inches in length ; and I watched a 
shoal of about thirty playing hide-and-seek among the feelers of the 
polype. You can hardly conceive anything so fascinating as the 
glimpses of fairyland to be obtained by allowing your boat to float 
at will in the shallowest possible water, while you peer down into 
the wonder-world beneath you, where the many-tinted corals, sea- 
Aveeds, and zoophytes, form wonderful gardens, of which the bril- 
liant blue star-fish, and strangely beautiful sea-anemones, are the 
gay blossoms. 

The butterflies which woo these flowers of the sea are shoals of 
the most exquisite minute fishes, which dart through the crystal 
water like rays of opal. IS^ow it is a group of turquoise blue, like 
forget-me-nots of the deep, and as they vanish among green sea- 
weeds, out flash a merry party primrose-coloured. Then come a 
little family of richest Alljert blue, Avhich pause a moment to greet 
1 Acanthaster Solaris. - Acrodadia mamillata. 


tlieir little friends the pure gold-fisb. ; and as ttese glide in between 
the rock-ledges, up swims a joyous little shoal of delicate pale-green 
fish, with perhaps a tiny silvery eel or two ; and some there are 
pure scarlet, others bright blue streaked with scarlet. These and a 
thousand more, varying in form as in colour, but all alike minute, 
are among the tempting beauties which make me always wish you 
were with me, that I might hear your raptures of delight. 

There are some most attractive gold-fish with broad bands of 
black, which terminate in wing-like fins; and others, still more 
fascinating, are silvery, with a delicate rosy flush. Some are yellow, 
striped with violet; others are pure scarlet, spotted with cobalt. 
I think my favourites are bright turquoise blue with a gold collar. 
Then there are some very large fish of the glossiest green, and 
others of a dazzling crimson. But the most distingue-\ool\.mg fishes 
are those which temper their gay colours with bands or zigzags of 
black velvet. Their forms are as varied as their colours, long or 
short, round, flat, or triangular. 

While these flash and dart in and out of their forest sanctuary, 
you may see large shells travelling over the coral-ledges, a good deal 
faster than you would suppose possible, till you see that they are 
tenanted by large hermit-crabs. Other crabs are in their own law- 
ful shells, as are also the wary lobsters ; and here and there are 
scattered some rare shells, such as we see in collections at home, 
and suppose to be quite common in the tropics, where, however, as 
a rule, they are only obtained by professional divers. Of course 
such as are washed up on the shore are dead shells, utterly worth- 

Quite apart from the mere delight to the eyes of gazing at these 
varied beauties, the reef has its useful aspect in regard to the com- 
missariat. At every low tide a crowd of eager fishers repair tliither, 
to see what manner of supper awaits them. 

Here, as in all these isles where wild animals do not exist, tlie 
sea furnishes the happy hunting-grounds of rich and poor. Swift 
canoes or boats take the place of hounds and horses ; and the coral- 
reef afi'ords as much delight to high and low, as a Scotch deer-forest 
or heathery moor does to the wealthy few in Britain. 

214 A lady's cruise. 

Can you not fancy the thrilling excitement of standing on the 
brink of the reef watching the huge green billows rolling in with 
thunder roar, and curling their grand white crests ere dashing on 
the rock in cataracts of foam, carrying with them many a strange 
creature of the deep 1 For these the fislierman keeps keen watch, 
standing with spear all ready poised to strike whatever may come 
within his reach. Eat more exciting still is the fishing by torch- 
light on the dark moonless nights, when a torch made of dried 
j-eeds is carried in one hand, and the spear in the other, ready to 
strike the unwary fish, attracted by the glare. Small fish are caught 
with a dififerent sort of spear, consisting of six or eight metal rods 
lashed to a long stick ; when this is dexterously plunged into a 
shoal, some fish are pretty sure to be pinched and held firm. 

Very often large parties go together to the reef, each bearing a 
flaming torch, and sometimes they fish for eels in the rivers in the 
same way. In either case the efiect is most picturesque. I have 
seen the shallow lagoon just inside the reef all illuminated by these 
flashing lights, which tell where the canoes are gliding, and just 
reveal the statuesque figures at the prow, Avith uplifted torch and 
spear aU ready poised : grand studies in bronze, as perfect models 
as sculptor could desire, and rich bits of colour for the artist who 
can render the warm ruddy glow, reflected by a well-oiled brown 
skin, with a background of dark sea and sky. 

At other times the sport lies in some form of netting. A whoh; 
company of women assemble, laughing and chattering as only South 
Sea Islanders can. Perhaps a dozen are told off to carry a great 
net, which they sink when up to their necks in water ; then form- 
ing a wide semicircle, they gradually approach the shore, lifting 
their net so as not to tear it on the rough coral-bed, and driving as 
many fish as they can enclose towards the shallow water, whence 
they can scoop them up in their little baskets, which they empty 
into larger ones slung from the waist. In this way myriads of tiny 
silvery fish are caught. 

Sometimes the men adopt this method of driving larger fish 
into shallow water, and then spear them in the way I have just 
described. The best marksmen stand a little apart, watching keenly 


for any fish that may escape the net, and throwing their spears at 
such fugitives with ahuost unerring aim. It is a scene of immense 
excitement ; and the fun of the sport is enhanced by the prospect 
of an abundant supper. For this sort of fishing seine-nets are 
made, 100 feet in length; or else several large nets, about 40 feet 
long by 12 deep, are joined together so as to enclose a very wide 

"Women carry small fine casting-nets in the hand, and throw 
them so dexterously as often to enclose a whole shoal of little 
fishes ; some kinds are no bigger than whitebait. For larger fish, 
akin to herrings and salmon, various nets are made of different 
fibres, such as the hybiscus, banyan, or pandanus bark or flax, the 
two latter being the strongest and most durable. Sometimes two 
nets are thrown at the same time — an inner net with fine mesh, 
and an outer one much coarser — to resist any larger fish which 
might break tlirough the inner one. They were weighted by stones 
wrapped in cocoa-nut fibre, and the floats are made of hybiscus- 
wood, wdiich is found to be very buoyant. When the nets are 
brought ashore, they are hung up to dry on the trees and shi'ubs. 

ISTowadays the ordinary hooks of commerce have almost super- 
seded the clumsy but efiicacious hooks of pearl-shell or bone. 
Those used in fishing for dolphin or bonitos were formerly attached 
to a mother-of-pearl shank, about six inches long, carved to resem- 
ble a fish. Excellent wooden hooks were also made by twisting 
the young roots of the casuarina or iron-wood tree, and leaving 
them till they had grown to a suitable size. In old days, when 
sharks were considered a delicacy, they were beguiled by large 
wooden hooks from twelve to fifteen inches in length. Cuttle-fisli 
are attracted by a bait very much resembling that used in Fiji, 
wdiere an imitation of a rat is made of cowrie-shells. I do not 
know whether the Tahitians have a similar legend of the enmity 
between the rat and the cuttle-fish. Here the cowrie-shells are 
cut into pieces, and fastened one over another like the scales of an 
armadillo, and so made into an oval ball the size of a rat. This 
being attached to a strong line, is lowered from a canoe, and 
gently jerked so as to move like a living creature. The cuttle-fish, 


Avhicli lies safely ensconced in some hole in the rocks, throws out 
;i long arm and lassoes its prey, the plated armour giving it a 
lirmer grip. Failing to draw in this unknown variety of rat, it 
throws out another arm, and yet another, till at length it slips out 
of its stronghold, and is drawn to the surface, holding its prize 
lirmly enlaced. 

It is not " all fish that comes to the net " in these seas. Many 
which are wholesome at one season are downright poison during 
the months when the coral is said to be in " blossom ; " during 
Avhich time these fish crunch it with their strong teetli. Others 
become poisonous by feeding on sea-centipedes — curious creatures 
which twine themselves round the coral, and resemble yards of 
black string with myriad tiny legs. There are certain fish which 
may be eaten with impunity on one isle, and are positively deadly 
if caught on other reefs. The natives themselves have sometimes 
died by rashly trusting to their experience of their own fishing- 
grounds, and- so venturing to eat the identical fish caught elsewhere. 
There are also certain sea-crabs which it is very unsafe to eat. 
Curiously enough, all varieties of land-crab are said to be good for 
food ; but there is a white-shelled sea-crab which generally proves 
fatal, and is sometimes eaten as a means of committing suicide. 

Even shell-collectors have to be wary how they handle the 
treasures they discover, as there are certain shell-fish which are 
armed with minute barbs, through which they inject virulent 
poison into the hand that touches them. The most dangerous of 
these is a beautiful cone,-"^ which has been known to cause death 
within a few hours. 'No sooner is it touched than a thrill of 
sharp pain flies up to the shoulder, and soon the body swells to 
an enormous size, and the hapless sufferer dies in agony. 

Do you remember a somewhat similar case — though happily it 
did not prove fatal — which occurred on our own shores, when Mr 

Hope G incautiously picked up a large jelly-fish, which so 

poisoned his blood that weeks of torture ensued t These beauti- 
ful sea-thistles (sea-nettles rather) are not to be touched with 

1 Cmms text His 


The men engaged in the leclie-de-vier fisheries find that tliose 
hideous gelatinous slugs which appear so very helpless, are also 
capable of inflicting severe pain. They resemble great sausages of 
dark-coloured india-rubber, black, grey, red, or greenish, inflated 
with sea-water. When touched, they eject this water with some 
violence, and if it falls on any wound or scratch it produces dan- 
gerous and agonising inflammation. The smallest drop squirted 
into the eye causes intolerable burning pain, and many of the 
tripang-fishers have their sight seriously injured from this cause. 

But more noxious by far is the olive-green variety, which is 
commonly called the leopard, from being marked with orange- 
coloured spots. "When this creature is touched it throws up 
glutinous filaments like darning-cotton, which not only adhere 
tenaciously to whatever they touch, but if they come in contact 
with the human skin, they instantly raise a painful burning blister 
and cause serious inflammation. Such being the case, it would 
appear discreet to leave these ugly creatures unmolested ; but as 
they are accounted a great delicacy in China, and fetch from 
£80 to £100 per ton, the risk is considered worth inciirring. 

Another serious danger of the reef arises from the various 
voracious sea-eels, which coil themselves up in the interstices of 
the coral and dart out to seize any prey which comes within reach. 
I Avas severely bitten myself one day while incautiously feeling 
for small fish ; but many natives have thus been maimed for life, 
the loss of a few fingers being a comparative trifle. I heard of 
one man in the Paumotu Isles who had the Avhole calf of his leg 
bitten ofi" by a vaaroa, or long-mouthed eel, a reptile which attains 
a length of eight feet or more, and roams about the reef seeking 
what it may devour. It was formerly an object of worship, in 
common with the conger-eel ; and bloody vengeance has on more 
than one occasion been taken by the heathen on such of their 
Christian neighbours as have presumed to eat this incarnate god. 

About fifteen years ago, a party of about eighty persons reached 
Samoa, after drifting over the wide seas for several weeks. They 
had been driven away from the isle of Fakaofa, where several of 
their number had been killed in consequence of having eaten conger- 


eels, wliicli the jieople of that isle held in reverence. Another fish- 
deity was the octopus, -which in heathen daj's it would have been 
sacrilege to cat, but which is now recognised as excellent food. I 
have never tasted one myself, but I am told that, though it looks 
so gelatinous, it really is tough and unpalatable. 

The girls catch delicate young cuttle-fish in the shallows on the 
reef ; but sometimes the tables are turned and they are themselves 
caught by overgrown monsters, which lie concealed in deep holes 
in the coral, and throw out long arms covered with suckers, with 
which they grasp whatever lies within reach and drag it inward. 
Scfnie of these measure fully six feet across the arms, from tip to 
tip ; and many horrible stories are current among the fishers of their 
adventures with these hideous devil-fish. So fully do they recog- 
nise the possibility of danger, that the}'' rarely go out alone to dive 
for these, or for clam-shells. 

The latter have been known to close suddenly, and hold the 
invader prisoner till he or she was drowned ; and the octopii have 
an unpleasant knack of throwing their arms so as to enfold an 
enemy, who vainly struggles to extricate himself from their hateful 
clasp : his arms are held powerless, and sometimes the hideous 
creature wraps itself round his head, so that death is inevitable 
unless haply his comrade comes to the rescue. 

These fishers know the value of pouring oil on the waters as 
well as the poachers on our own Scottish rivers, or the oyster- 
fishers at Gibraltar and the Mediterranean generally, so they 
invariably carry in their canoes a measure of cocoa-nut oil. By 
sprinkling a few drops on the surface of the water, it becomes so 
perfectly smooth that they can see right down through its crystal 
depths, and detect the exact position of the creatures below. So, 
when a diver remains under water longer than usual, his friend in 
the canoe thus clears the surface, and, peering into the depths, 
ascertains what is going on, and, if need be, dives to the rescue. 

Of course these are not the only dangers encountered by the 
fishers. There is the the ever-abiding dread of sharks, especially 
the awful white shark, which grows to about thirty feet in length, 
and is so fearless that it is frequently known to attack canoes and 

shaek-ca\t:s. 219 

drag its victims into the Avater, either by seizing some carelessly 
outstretched limb or by overturning the canoe. It is a liideous 
animal, with gigantic mouth and with broad serrated teeth. I saw 
an enormous specimen hanging from the bows of a vessel which 
was lying at anchor in the harbour. 

Even the small lagoon shark is not a pleasant fellow-swimmer, 
though it rarely exceeds six feet in length. It ventures into very 
shallow water, but makes its home in caves in the coral, in company 
with its kinsman. In all these isles it is considered good food ; 
and in many of the groups (notably the Xew Hebrides and the 
Hervey Isles) the bold fishermen actually dive into the shark- 
caverns, contrive to pass a slip-knot round the tail of one of the 
sleepers, and instantly rise to the surface, when their companions 
haul the ugly monster, tail first, into the canoe, hitting him on the 
head with all possible speed. You can quite understand that this 
sort of fishing is by no means child's-play. Sometimes, when a 
diver has entered a cave, a shark will move so as to prevent his 
exit, and then his only chance of ever returning to the surface lies 
in the skill with which he can tickle or stroke the monster, so as 
to induce it to move aside. Of course he only dares to do this if 
the creature's tail is towards him. Should it have turned the 
other way, his fate is almost inevitably sealed, as the slightest 
movement on his part would reveal his presence and consign him 
to the shark's maw ; and on the other hand, though he is himself 
wellnigh amphibious, a delay of a few seconds must cost his life. 

One of the most unpleasant inmates of these waters is the 
stingaree or sting-ray, which is a large flat fish, the spine of which 
is prolonged to a sharp, barbed point, serrated on both sides. The 
swimmer who unluckily comes in contact with this weapon receives 
a dangerous wound, as the point probably breaks into his liesh, 
and works its way inward with every breath he draws. 

Even the globe-fish is an uncomfortable neighbour. It is tlio 
hedgehog of the sea, covered with sharp horny spikes. It possesses 
the curious faculty of filling itself with air till it becomes a perfect 
ball, of the consistency of oiled parchment. Verily, those denizens 
of the deep are strange ! 

220 A lady's cruise. 

Tuesday, 20th. 

This morning, after a pleasant breakfast with Mrs Brander, M. 
Vernier called for me in his pony-phaeton, and we drove to visit 
Queen Pomare's tomb, or rather the house in which the royal dead 
of Tahiti are laid, and left for a while, till only bones and dust 
remain. Then a specially appointed official goes at dead of night 
and secretly carries the remains to some place — probably a cave 
in the mountains — where they are safely buried ; only a very 
few trusted old adherents being allowed to know where they are 
laid. The mausoleum is a hideous little house, standing on a bare 
grass lawn by the sea. Till recently it was surrounded by a fine 
old grove of sacred casuarina-trees ; but one unlucky day Ariiaue 
was short of money (cruel report says of brandy ! ), and he actually 
sold the venerated trees to some Goth, who cut them for common 

I fancy that the jealous mystery which enshrouds the final burial 
of royal bones may be traced to lingering traditions of witchcraft, 
or some kindred superstition connected with the ancient system 
of taboo, which prevailed throughout Polynesia, and entailed divers 
diseases, and even death, on those who rashly tampered with things 
belonging to high chiefs. The other day a man walked past this 
door carrying a bunch of roses. Mrs Green was going to take one, 
when a half-caste Tahitian cried out, " Oh, take care ! they Avere 

gathered in the garden of ," naming some one related to the 

royal family. I then learnt that to take anything belonging to 
royalty, or to wear a garment that has been worn by any of 
them, or even to lie on their bed, or rest the head on their pillow, 
is supposed to produce king's evih So implicit is this belief 
among the older generation, that Queen Pomare always made up 
bundles of her old clothes and sent them to sea to be sunk outside 
the reef. 

The cure for any person supposed to have incurred danger in 
this manner savours of the celebrated prescription in hydrophobia, 
" Swallow a hair of the dog that bit you." The old queen was 
greatly attached to one of Mrs Green's little boys, whom, after the 
curious fashion of this country, she called her adopted son, giving 


him a Tahitian name, by which alone he was known to the natives. 
One day, after the boy had been much with the queen, a suspicious- 
looking spot broke out on his cheek, and the native attendants 
begged Mrs Green to go at once to the queen and ask her to take 
the child iuto bed with her, and cover him up, which would avert 
all danger.^ 

This afternoon, for the first time since I landed, I have seen a 
centipede — not one, but many, which were lying quietly hidden 
beneath a mass of decaying fronds of the cocoa-palm. We put one 
in a bottle ; but though a large specimen for the Pacific, it is barely 
six inches in length. These isles of the blest enjoy a perfect im- 
munity from all venomous creatures, with this one exception ; and 
it is a very innocent creature compared with the centipedes of other 
lands, especially of Africa and South America. Unfortunately the 
latter have lately been carried by foreign ships to some of the Lee- 
ward Isles, and in the same manner scorpions have been brought to 
Tahiti — a very unfortunate introduction. The centipedes, small as 
they are, can give an agonising bite, which, however, is not actually 
dangerous to human beings. They are chiefly fatal to poultry, 
especially turkeys, which swallow them in mistake for worms, and 
invariably die soon afterwards. 

1 Let not the nations of the West sneer at these superstitions of the East. Faith 
in the efBcacy of the king's touch as a cure for scrofula was implicit both in France 
and England for many a long year. So early as a.d. 481 it was practised by Clovis. 
And it is recorded that on Easter Day, 1686, Louis XIV. touched 1600 persons, 
saying to each, " Le roy te touche, Dieu te guerisse !" This singular divine right 
was first claimed in England by Edward the Confessor in 1058, and his successors 
carried it on. Charles I. did, on St John's Day, 1633, visit Holyrood Chapel, 
where " he heallit 100 persons, young and old, of the cnielles or king's evil." 
Charles II. actually touched 92,107 such patients — being an average of 12 per diem 
for twenty years. His exchequer must have suffered by this kingly privilege, as he 
presented a broad gold piece to each sufferer. The touch of Queen Elizabeth was 
declared "a sure relief when all other methods have failed." Henry VIII., not 
content with miraculously curing all scrofula patients, also healed those afflicted 
with cruel cramps. Dr .Johnson speaks of his earliest recollections of Queen Anne, 
into whose awful presence he had been ushered in his infancy, that by her royal 
touch she might cure him of his sore disease ! The ofRce appointed by the Church 
to be said on these occasions was actually retained in the English liturgy till 1719, 
when it was omitted by command of George I. But so late as 1745 many of the 
Jacobite party came secretly to Charles Edward, to crave his healing touch. See 
* From the Hebrides to the Himalayas ' (C. F. Gordon Gumming), vol. i. p. 264. 


These horrid creatures are highly phospliorescent, and leave a 
trail of light as they move at night. If crushed, they emit a glow 
of light, and hence were in olden days reverenced as an incarna- 
tion of divinity; and Veri, the centipede-god, was worshipped at 
Mangai, in the Hervey Isles, where a huge banyan-tree over- 
shadowed his marae, among the grey rocks, and where to this day 
some say that gigantic centipedes keep guard over the hidden treas- 
ures of the tribe of Teipe, formerly their devout worshippers. 

Speaking of phosphorescent things, did I ever tell you about the 
curious luminous fungi which are found in the mountains of Fiji 1 
■J'hey gleam with a pale weird blue light, and the natives occasion- 
ally play tricks at the expense of their superstitious neighbours, 
suggestive of the turnip-ghosts of our own foolish young days. 

Another new experience of this afternoon has been tasting the 
far-famed orange-rum, which is supposed to have such a deteriorat- 
ing effect on those addicted to it. It is weak, insipid stuff, like 
mawkish vinegar. I should be very sorry to drink a wine-glassful 
of it, but I should think a bucketful would scarcely have any effect 
on the head, however seriously it might disturb other organs. I am 
certain it is weaker than the cider of which English haymakers 
drink twenty large mugs in a day with impunity. 

But I am told that long before the introduction of oranges, and 
the consequent invention of orange-rum, the Tahitians had been 
taught l)y the Hawaiians how to distil an intoxicating spirit from 
the root of the H shrub, -^ which is highly saccharine, and is gener- 
ally baked, and made into puddings. 

They invented a still of the rudest construction. For the boiler 
they hollowed a lump of rock, and this they covered with an un- 
wi(;kly wooden cover, the rude stump of a tree, into which was 
inserted a long bamboo, which rested in a trough of cold water, 
and conveyed the distilled spirit into a gourd. This ponderous 
boiler was set on two layers of stones, leaving a space for a fire, and 
Avas then filled with the baked ti root, which had been soaked till 
fermentation had commenced. Then ensued wild orgies, when all 
the people of the district gave themselves up to unbridled licen- 

1 JjracoEna tcrminalis. 


tiovisness ; and having drunk till they were mad, generally ended 
by quarrelling, so that it was not an uncommon thing to find the 
remains of one of these rude stills overturned and scattered on the 
ground, and around them the corpses of those who had ended their 
drunken bout by a free fight, in which clubs and stone axes had 
proved efficient weapons. 

The practice of this very unpleasant vice spread rapidly .to other 
isles, and was one of the serious hindrances met with by the early 
missionaries. Thus, when Eaiatea had for some time been looked 
upon as a model island, it only needed the arrival of a trading ship, 
and of a cask of spirits, to produce an outbreak on the part of King 
'J'amatoa (not the present man), which was instantly followed by 
the mass of the people, who in their reawakened craving for spirits 
prepared about twenty stiUs, all of which were in full operation, 
when Mr "Williams, returning after a short absence, found the island 
Avhich he had left so orderly and flourishing, all given up to mad 

Having had their bout, the people were naturally rather ashamed 
of themselves, remembering how nobly their grand old chief, the 
original Tamatoa, Queen Pomare's grandfather, had kept his vow 
of temperance during the fifteen years he lived after becoming a 
Christian. Previous to that time he too had been a heavy drinker, 
and being a man of gigantic strength, and six feet eleven inches in 
height, he was not pleasant company when drunk. So it was a 
happy hour in which he vowed never again to touch any intoxicat- 
ing liquor, and became the most constant attendant at school and 

When his favourite daughter Maikara, the governess of Huahine, 
heard of this outbreak in Eaiatea, she went over, with some of her 
trusted officers, to help the orderly remnant in the isle to carry out 
the laws for the destruction of all stills ; and though in some 
districts they met with considerable opposition, they effected their 
purpose thoroughly. ISTot long afterwards a temperance society was 
formed, which seems to have worked satisfactorily on the whole, 
though of course individuals sometimes succumb to the temptations 
so cruelly offered by foreign ships. 


Evidently drunlccnncss is no longer admired as a kingly attribute, 
for the liaiateans banished the present Taniatoa, who was formerly 
their king, because of his disagreeable habit of taking pot-shots at 
his subjects when he was very far gone. I am happy to say he 
does not now indulge in this obnoxious practice, which would be 
particularly dangerous to us, as he lives in the next house, and 
frequently entertains us with wild rollicking songs, which, however, 
are not nearly so hateful as his habit of beating a large drum for 
several hours at a time ! an entertainment which must be particu- 
larly trying to his sweet gentle wife, the charming Moe', concerning 
whom even the Frenchmen always speak with unbounded respect, 
and whose faithful love to her jovial but very trying spouse has 
continued unshaken, notwithstanding all the homage of one sort 
or another with which she has been loaded, including that of the 
author of ' South Sea Bubbles.' 

Just now every one is anxious about her, for she is daily ex- 
pecting a small addition to her family, and is exceedingly ill with 
influenza — a very violent form of which has recently broken out, 
severely affecting lungs and throat. It is a real epidemic. A num- 
ber of people have died from it, and such a multitude are suffering," 
that the town seems morne and sad. Even the band is deserted 
and the church is empty. Tamatoa himself, and the queen's two 
sisters, Titaua Brander and Moetia Attwater, are among the suf- 
ferers. Mrs Miller and her grown-up sons, Mme. Fayzeau and her 
children, and all ]\[rs Green's children, are really very ill — high 
fever accompanied by utter prostration of strength being among the 

It is a most extraordinary fact that on every one of the Poly- 
nesian groups the natives declare that influenza was never known 
till white men came ; and now it is one of the regular scourges of 
the Pacific, returning almost every year in a greater or less degree, 
but occasionally proving very severe and fatal, especially to old folk. 
It is generally preceded by westerly or southerly winds, and passes 
off as the steady trade-winds set in bringing fine settled weather. 
It first appeared in Samoa in 1830, just when the first missionaries 
Williams and Barff touched the group, and was of course attributed 


to their machinations. In the Xew Hebrides, where it proved a 
very serious scourge, it led to the murder of many teachers, -who 
(as I think I have already told you) Avere considered to be the 

Among those now suffering from it, is dear old j\Irs Simpson, 
the " mother of missions " in these parts, of whose " pure Biblical 
English" Lord Pembroke spoke so admiringly. She is now on a 
A'isit to Mrs Brander, to whom she has been like a second mother. 
There I have frequently met her, and we have become great 
friends. She is planning that I am to visit her daughter, Mme. 
Valles, who is married to a retired French officer, and has a planta- 
tion on Moorea. I liope to see it in the course of a few days. 

Wednesday, Slst Oct. 

Alas ! the influenza has done its work quickly. Only yesterday 
morning I was breakfasting with Mrs Brander on my return from a 
lovely early ride with I^arii, up the Fautawa valley ; Mrs Simpson 
was unable to appear, and afterwards a messenger came to teU Mr 
Green that she was very ill. In the night I was wakened by a 
man with a lantern standing at my open Avindow ; he brought tid- 
ings of her death. 

It is a most trying moment, for this real sorrow occurs just when 
all those who were most devoted to the clever, good, and loving old 
lady, are compelled from their position to take a leading part in 
the festivities for the royal reception in Moorea. Mrs Brander, as 
chiefess of the isle, has to make every sort of festal preparation — 
and now, in addition to these, she has to make aU arrangements 
for the funeral of her loved old friend, whose body will be carried 
to Moorea to-morrow on board the Seignelay. It will be a terrible 
shock for poor Mme. Valles, who to-day is preparing for all the gaj'' 
doings of to-morrow, little dreaming that besides all the expected 
friends, Avhose visit would have been such a dcliglit, 07ie will return 
silent — never more to leave the isle where her lips first taught thy 
words of life to many. . . . 

We start for Moorea to-morrow morning. 


226 A lady's cruise. 




Chez Rev. James Green, Papeete, 

iiunday, ith Suv. 

Dearest Xell, — All tlio otliers have gone off to the Tahitiau 
church. As I find, from long experience, that attending service ia 
an unknown tongue tends to produce habits of the strictest inatten- 
t ion, I thought I might as well stay at home and have a talk witli 
you. "\Ve returned from Moorea yesterday, and I am still very 
tired. This expedition has been very fatiguing, and somewhat 
bewildering, from the manner in which everything was hurried; 
there was really no time to enjoy anything; it was all a rush to get 
over the ground. 

For some reason unknown, the admiral determined to accomplish 
the grand round in two days, which did not allow of a halt at half 
the districts. This was the more tantalising as the island is inde- 
scribably lovely, and I longed to linger at every point. The day 
of our start was equally hurried, and the people had received such 
very short notice, that they were quite unprepared for the royal 
visit, and somewhat disconcerted in consequence. And then the 
combination of mourning with ceremonial rejoicing Avas a very dis- 
tressing element. 

On Thursday morning one of the Seignclay boats came here to 
take me on board at 7 a.m., and soon afterwards the king and queen 
arrived, escorted by tlie admiral and many officers of La Magicienne. 
Mrs Erander and all her family party soon followed. But our 
wonted gaiety was altogether lacking, for there was a solemn pres- 
ence in oiu- midst, and we all knew that beneath the Union-jack, 
which was spread as a pall, lay the coffin containing the remains of 
one very dear to many in these isles. Her husband was buried ou 
Moorea, near the spot where his daughter now lives ; and now the 
two faithful workers have l)eL'n laid side by side in this far country 


Two hours steaming brouglit us to Yaianae Bay, -wlience we 
rowed ashore to Afareaitu, a distance of about two miles. Thenco 
the boats returned to the Seignelay, which proceeded to the other 
side of the isle to find good anchorage. 

On landing, we were received by the head men, in very fine 
tiputas (the much-decorated upper garment of native cloth). These 
they presented to the admiral and the king. But our arrival was 
so premature, that the reception was on a small scale — the people 
not having had time to assemble. After breakfast I secured a rapid 
outline of the strange beautiful hills, then we had to hurry away, in 
excellent boats, the property of Tahitians. 

As we rowed along inside the reef, each turn revealed new 
marvels of that most lovely coast, which combines the softest 
beauties of rich foliage with the most weird grandeur of mountain 
gloom. The island is by far the most wonderful I have ever seen. 
Just one confused mass of basaltic crags and pinnacles, lofty ridges, 
so narrow that here and there Avhere some part has broken away 
you can see the sky through an opening like the eye of a needle. 
Kature seems to have here built up gigantic rock-fortresses, mighty 
bastions and towers which reach up into heaven ; pyramids, before 
which those of Gizeh would appear as pigmies, and minarets such 
as the builders of the Kootub never dreamt of. It is as though 
some huge mountain of rock had been rent asunder, and its frag- 
ments left standing upright in stupendous splinters. Some one 
has unpleasantly compared these to asses' ears, and I am fain to 
confess that the description is good, so far as outline is concerned. 

I had caught glimpses of some of these amazing stone needles 
and towers as we passed Moorea on the first morning, but then 
they only appeared mysteriously through the drifting vapours, 
Avhich idealise and magnify the most commonplace crags. Now 
there were no mists, and the huge pinnacles stood out sharj) and 
clear against a cloudless sky, Avhile far below them the riven rocks 
lay seamed by narrow chasms — dark sunless ravines, moist witli 
the spray of many waterfalls, and rich with all green things that 
love warm misty shade. 

I believe that when reduced to figures, the mountains of ^foorov 


are found to average only lialf the heiglit of those in Tahiti, the 
latter rising to upwards of 7000 feet, while the highest peak of 
Moorea, Afareaitu, is only 3976 feet. ]kit the strangely varied 
forms of the latter are so remarkable, that a few thousand feet 
more or less seem a matter of indifference. 

I did long to crave a few moments' halt from time to time, to 
secure ever so slight an outline of some specially striking scene, 
hut of course I dared not suggest it, as we were evidently bound 
to " make good time " (that crime in travelling, which so many 
mistake for a virtue). The result was, that we reached Haapiti at 
2 P.M. Mrs ]h'ander, who had hurried on at once to make her 
preparations, had counted on our not arriving till four at tlie 
earliest, so of course nothing was ready. 

The admiral went to examine schools, and I lost no time in 
settling down to a large sketch of the beautiful and fairy-like 
scene — the grand mountain amphitheatre of stupendous crags and 
precipices, a middle distance of richest foliage, and in the fore- 
ground, on a' lawn of greenest turf, the pretty temporary building 
of palm and bamboo, erected for the banquet. The interior Avas 
lined with tree-ferns and bunches of rosy oleander, and festooned 
with many hundred yards of deep fringe made of hybiscus fibre. 
The thatch was entirely composed of the long glossy fronds of 
birds'-nest fern,^ which, being tough and leathery, make a good 
perr.iiinent thatch, and one which lasts much longer than banana- 
leaves, though, of course, it is more troublesome to arrange in the 
first instance. It seems too bad to sacrifice such an incredible 
number of these beautiful plants. The only consolation is, that 
they grow in places so inaccessible that no human eye ever beholds 
them, save that of the goat-like cragsman who explores the deep 
ravines in search of the wild, faees, which constitute the principal 
article of food on these isles. 

Shortly before sunset all the people of the district assembled, 

each with a piece of yellow native cloth thrown over their black 

dresses like a shawl, to symbolise joy in sorrow. They formed an 

immense procession, lieaded by Mrs Brander as high chiefess. She 

' Asidenium nidus. 


■was dressed entirely in T)lack, only relieved by a most becoming 
crown of glossy white arrowroot, with a plume of snowy reva-i-eva. 
Immediately after her followed the gentlemen of her family, wear- 
ing very beautiful tiputas of bread-fruit bark cloth, covered with 
ornaments and flowers made of arrowroot and bamboo fibre, and all 
fringed Avith the delicate reva-reva. They made an address and 
sang the himenes of welcome which should have greeted the 
royalties oh their landing. Then the chiefs presented their 
beautiful garments to the principal persons present, and all the 
people laid their yellow scarves and pretty hats at their feet. 
One of the tijputas was intended for me, but as I sat apart to see 
the general picture, it was unfortunately given to some one else ; 
but Mrs Brander reserved for me a most delicate hand-screen of the 
finest fibre. 

Then followed a great dinner, admirable in every respect, the 
pretty booth being illuminated by a multitude of Chinese lanterns ; 
and the hitnene singing, which was continued at -intervals all the 
evening, was particularly good. The sleeping arrangements were 
less satisfactory, there having been no time to make preparations 
for so large a party ; so my hostess had only reserved one tiny 
room for herself, two children, two native women, and me. It 
was a foreign house, Avith windows. These were tightly closed, 
and a bright lamp kept burning all night, — both circumstances 
fatal to all chance of sleep, — so I preferred a shake-down in the 
sitting-room. Unfortunately, my experience of the luxuries of 
Tahiti had induced me to travel without my own mosquito-net ; 
and the attacks of these persistent foes, combined with the per- 
petual movement of locomotive women, incessantly opening the 
door at my head and admitting a stream of bright light, effectually 
l)anished all hope of sleep. It was a night of feverish unrest, — a 
bad preparation for the morrow. 

Again came a hurried morning start in good native boats, — the 
coast, beautiful as tha't of yesterday. We had a strong wind and 
tide against us, and made slow progress. After a severe pull of 
three hours, we stopped at a point where the rowers landed to rest 
and get cocoa-nuts ; but hordes of mosquitos attacked and routed 

2.30 A lady's cruise. 

lis, even foUuwing us on our way. Finally we landtMl, and Avalked 
the last two miles to Papetoai, on Opuuohu ]jay, where the Seig- 
nelay anchored last night. 

Mrs Simpson's body was brought asliorc this morning, and as 
the people were all too much fussed to mourn their old friend and 
clerical mother (at least externally), the coffin was carried to the 
rhurch by French sailors ; and they and their officers were the only 
persons present, besides the immediate relations, at a sort of pre- 
liminary service held by M. Erun, the Protestant pastor. 

Breakfast, chiefly consisting of omelets which had been cooked 
at 7 A.M., was not served till noon ; and as I had only succeeded in 
securing a bit of biscuit before starting, I was so famished that one 
of the officers Avent to forage on my account, and returned in 
triumph with a yard of bread ! This proved so satisfying, that, 
craving permission to escape from the formal meal, I returned on 
board with my old shipmates, and secured a careful drawing of the 
wonderfully lovely mountains ere the rest of the party came on 
board. One young sailor came to great grief in trying to climb a 
cocoa-nut tree — an operation which appears very easy to the exj)ert 
islanders, but sorely puzzles a foreigner. This poor lad fell from a 
considerable height, breaking his arm and severely injuring his 
head. So the kind doctor had his hands full, and no time to enjoy 
the beautiful scenery. 

"We steamed round to Pao Pao, commoidy known as Cook's Bay, 
which is also very fine. Here we left the steamer, and, taking to 
the boats, rowed four miles to Tiaia, which is a pretty village by 
the sea. On one side of it there is a splendid grove of glossy- 
leaved tamanu trees, and a few fine old iron-wood trees — the 
casuarina — all that now remains of what was once a very sacred 
grove surrounding the ancient marae. IN'ow the Christian church 
occupies the site where formerly human sacrifices Avere offered to 
the cruel gods. At a distance of about two miles from this village 
there is a brackish lake — Lake Temae — about a mile in length. 
It contains good fish, and many wild-duck haunt its sedgy and 
very muddy shores. Under the impression that it was very much 
nearer, I joined the exploring parly. We had to make a detour of 


some length, and found no beanty to compensate for a very fatiguing 
walk of upwards of four miles, '"which, combined Avith that of the 
morning, quite finished me. I could not even sit up for the even- 
ing lilmhies, which was a matter of real regret, as the singers here 
are considered the very best in the group. Several of the women 
liave very fine falsetto voices. 

To my great delight, in apportioning our quarters, M. Hardouin, 
A.D.C., awarded me a tiny house all to myself — the owners kept 
oidy the outer room ; and when they went off to join the hirnenes 
they locked the door to keep their charge safe. Happily one of 
my friends on the Seignelay had lent me a mosquito-net, so I slept 
the blessed, dreamless sleep of the weary. 

In the morning at 6 a.m., as I was dressing leisurely for 7 o'clock 
coffee, Queen Marau rushed in to say the admiral was all ready for 
a 6 o'clock start. Thereupon followed a horrid hurry-scurry to get 
ready, and a four miles' row back to the vessel. At 7.30 she was 
under way, and at 10 a.m. we were at anchor in Papeete harbour. 

Altogether this has been a most tantalising expedition, an un- 
satisfactory hurrying over scenes of surpassing beauty. Mrs Bran- 
der says that if I Avill stay some time longer in Tahiti she will take 
me back there and let me pasture at leisure in that artists' paradise. 
Fain would I linger, — indeed all manner of delightful ploys are 
])roposed, but all involve time, and I have promised to meet Lady 
(Jordon at Christmas, either at Auckland or Sydney, according ti) 
what I hear at Honolulu, so I must not lose the chance of the first 
vessel to the Sandwich Isles. 

Tuesday, 6tk. 

It has been decided that one of Mrs Brander's vessels, the Mar- 
amma (i.e., the Moon), is to start for Honolulu on Saturday, so 
that settles the time of my departure from I'ahiti. It is also 
announced that on Thursday the Seignelay is to be sent ofl' to 
tlie Marquesas, to convey a force of gendarmes to inquire into 
some recent outbreaks of .cannibalism. Mrs Brander has becui 
most kindly renewing her invitation to me to stay Avitli her till 
the next trip of the Maramma to Honolulu — a matter of two 


months ! It is most tempting, Ijut I feel bound to go. At the 
band to-niglit, Mr Darsie, manager of the Maison Brandere, ex- 
pressed his astonishment that I should lose such a chance of seeing 
the Marquesas and the Paumotus, adding that the manager of the 
business for those groups was going to take the trip, and would 
enable me to see everything to the greatest advantage, and the ship 
is to return here in a fortnight. Certainly it would be quite de- 
lightful, but what is the use of suggesting the impossible] 

Wednesday, 7th. 

Early this morning we went on board the Maramma to see the 
cabin which Mrs Brander has kindly reserved for me — the best in 
the ship. It made me sad to look at it and to think that it is to 
carry me away for ever from this supremely lovely South Sea para- 
dise. All to-day we have had a succession of visits from my kind 
friends of the Seignelay, to urge my giving up Honolulu in favour 
of Les Marquises, or, if that could not be, to /aire les adieux. At 
the very last came M. de Gironde, who is always my good genius, 
to try and prove that it was not too late to change my mind, and 
that his cabin was at my disposal as before. Surely there never 
was a ship full of such kind people. Of course it would be quite 
delightful to go and see another lot of beautiful isles ; but after aU, 
I suppose they are very much like these, and raj brain already 
feels overcrowded with pictures, each lovelier than the last. So, 
for every reason, it seems best to stand true to my tryst, and be 
content with a run to the volcanoes, and then drop down to the 
comparatively commonplace scenes of Australia or New Zealand. 

This has been quite a sad day of farewells. We dined with the 
Verniers and afterwards went to the admiral's reception — a very 
pretty and animated dance. 

Thursday, 8th. 

At nine this morning the Seignelay steamed close past our 
windows, and great was the farewell waving of hats and handker- 
chiefs. I grieve to part from the many kind companions of so 

DOUBTS. 233 

many pleasant days (and of satl ones too); and I would fain he 
going on with the good ship now, for I sorely regret the approach- 
ing end of my travels in these parts. 

To-night we dined at Mrs Brander's. The party included a 
large number of officers from the Magicienne. It was a farewell 
entertainment, as Mrs Brander's son Aleck and Mr Darsie both go 
to Honolulu in the Maramma (the latter en route to England). 
They too are going to see the volcanoes ; but if they are rightly 
informed concerning the trips of the little Hawaiian steamer, I 
begin to have very grave doubts of the possibility of my visiting 
the southern isles at all, if I attempt to carry out my programme, 
even supposing we have a fair wind and quick passage to Hono- 
lulu, which is more than doubtful. 

Friday, 0th. 

A wretched sleepless night, worrymg over plans. Difficulties 
always do exaggerate themselves so absurdly if one lies awake. 
Out at daybreak to get a sketch from the shore. It is all working 
against time, and my heap of unfinished drawings is a serious 
nightmare. I have been struggling to get several duplicate 
sketches finished for various friends, and I feel like a graphic 
barrel-organ — an unreasoning machine for the multiplication of 
drawings; and the ever- recurring thought arises, "Why not stay 
and have the delight of working from nature, as the kind friends 
here advise, when after all it is more than probable that the 
Christmas tryst will fall through 1 But anyhow, I have missed 
the chance of Les Marquises, and it would seem too silly to change 
my mind now. 

Mrs Brander came to-day to say good-bye, but added emphati- 
cally, " You're not gone yet, however ! " There's no doubt that 
her invitation to stay on is quite bond fide ; but for two months 
at least ! What a visitation to inflict on any one ! 

Mrs Miller drove me to call on the Bishop of Axieri, Monseig- 
neur Tepano Janssen, who is most kind and courteous. He showed 
us all over his grounds, which are literally a garden of acclimati- 
sation, so numerous are the useful plants of other lands whicli he 

234 A lady's cruise. 

is endeavouring to introduce. It is greatly due to his care that 
tlie mangoes of Tahiti have been brought to such perfection. The 
conversation turned on many subjects of interest. Amongst other 
tilings, speaking of the effect of many mingled sounds, he told us 
of the deafening noise produced by the cries of sea-birds on some 
of the isles Avhere he has touched, on one of which he witnessed a 
strange instance of combined action by myriads of sea-birds and 
herons ; the former, diving simultaneously, produced a noise like a 
thunder-clap as they struck the water. The dignified herons prof- 
ited by their neighbours' work, and waited on the shore ready to 
catch the startled fish as they fled affrighted from the divers. 

This evening the admiral invited Mrs Miller, Madame Fayzeau, 
and myself, to dine on board La Magicienne. She is a very fine 
old fashioned-frigate, with vast accommodation, splendid broad 
decks of great length. The admiral has a large dining-room, and 
a sitting-room the size of an average drawing-room, with four large 
square windows opening into a gallery round the stern — a charm- 
ing lounge in fine weather. Commandant Beique has rooms 
equally pretty, on the same level, each with a large square window 
(I cannot call them ports). They are so high above the water that 
they scarcely ever have to be closed — a true boon in the tropics. 
I never saw so roomy a ship. AVitli all her big guns, five hundred 
sailors, and thirty officers, there was no symptom of crowding. 
Amongst the officers are two belonging to the Peruvian navy, who 
have come to study the French system of navigation. One of 
these is remarkable for his diminutive size and extraordinary 
strength; the biggest men in the ship cannot wrestle with him, 
nor fight him (in sport). 

After dinner we adjourned to Government House grounds to 
hear the band play, as usual ; then all walked back by the shore 
to the British consulate, for a farewell evening, and finished it here 
in this sweet home-like nest. I do grieve that it should be the 
last evening, the more so as I am beginning to believe that what 
all my friends here agree in saying must be true — namely, that 
when I made my vague calculation of reaching Sydney for Christ- 
mas, it was on the principle of Jules Verne's ' Eound the "World 


in Eiglity Days.' They say that to attempt fitting the Sandwich 
Isles volcanoes into the time is preposterous folly. I think they 
are right, but it is too late to change now. What further concerns 
me is the thought, which had not previously presented itself, that 
very likely, after all this pusliing and scrambling, and spoiling 
everything by useless hurry, Lady Gordon may have given up 
the idea, and may stay quietly in Fiji till she is obliged to take 
the children direct to Englanil,-^ anil I may never know this till I 
reach Sydney 

Saturday, \Wh. 

Another Aveary night — perplexing and conflicting suggestions — 
the horrid feeling of being disloyal to a tryst, yet the certainty that 
nowhere else shall I find such beauty as I am leaving. Those un- 
sketched dolomites of Moorea — those ferny ravines all unexplored 
— those glorious valleys of bread-fruit — the Idmenes that I shall 
never hear again ! And every one agrees in telling me that the 
Hawaiian Isles are not to compare with these in beauty, — that the 
liills are comparatively shapeless, the foliage poor, the bread-fruit 
sickly and blighted, the cocoa-palms mere ghosts of their southern 
relations, and the mangoes miserable fruits, not worthy to bear 
the same name as the luscious mangoes of Tahiti. They tell me, 
too, that the people are much less attractive; that they have taken 
on so much blunt civilisation, that they have lost whatever native 
grace they may have once possessed. Even the same garment — 
the flowing sacque — is there worn so short and full that it is 
scarcely to be recognised, and instead of floating drapery it becomes 
a mere dress.^ 

Well, I must now begin my packing. Tliere will be time 
enough for writing before we reach Honolulu. 

Papeete, Saturday Afternoon. 

.Jubilate ! Jubilate ! The Maramma is to start in an hour, but 
will leave me to revel in South Sea loveliness till her next trip. 

1 Wliich proved to be the exact state of the case. 

" All of wliich I fouiKl to be strictly true. Undoubtedly, the ideal Pacific Isles 
lie south of the ecjuator. 

236 A lady's cruise. 

This morning, just as I was putting the fmishing-touches to my 
packing — I must confess very much contre-ca'ur, and quite in the 
vein of Eve's lamentation, " Must I leave thee, Paradise 1 " — up 
drove pretty Queen Marau and her handsome sister Moetia, who 
carried the position by assault, — vowed it was not too late to change 
a foolish plan; so leaving Moetia with her cousin ]\Ioe, Marau 
made me jump into her pony-phaeton and drove me straight off to 
Fautawa, where her sister Titaua, Mrs Brander, was giving a great 
entertainment to all her employes, previous to her son's departure 
for Honolulu. Then and there she made me recant all my previous 
protestations and refusals of her most hospitable invitations, and 
in two seconds all was settled. I am to be her guest till the Mar- 
amma returns, and is again sent to Honolulu. 

Now that it is all settled, I feel quite satisfied and reprieved ; 
so instead of a long letter written on board ship, I must despatch 
this as it is. "We are just hurrying to the wharf to say good-bye to 
our friends, and then I look forward to a grand night's rest, for I 
am thoroughly tired. 

I have been hoping against hope that a letter might reach me 
here, via N^ew Zealand ; but the schooner thence is about a month 
overdue, and it is feared she has gone on a reef. Good bye. — 
Your loving sister. 



Papeete, November Wth. 

I am certainly very glad that my gooel friends here supplied the 
moral courage which I failed to find, and so enabled me to repent 
at the eleventh hour. I do rejoice in the sense of repose, knowing 
that for at least two months I may now explore the many scenes of 
enchantment which lie on every side, without a thought of hurry. 


Yet even this joy is not unmixed. I do find it very hard to he 
truly philosophical, and not to cry over spilt milk, when I think 
of the delightful cruise to the Marquesas and Paumotus, which 
would so admirably have filled up this first fortnight, had I only 
been able to decide three days earlier. 

But it was not till the hospitable ship had sailed, that I found 
leisure soberly to think the matter over, and to realise how very 
rare and precious a chance I had so idiotically thrown away. 
"When your eyes are satiated with grand scenery, and each lovely 
group of isles seems only to differ from the last in its degree of 
special beauty, you are apt to think that really you have seen 
enough, and may as well pause and. be satisfied with all the 
exquisite pictures which crowd before your memory. So, when 
these most kind friends urged me to accompany them on this ex- 
pedition, I was so absorbed in working up some of the innumerable 
sketches made on the last trip, that I never took time to think out 
the subject in all its bearings, and to see how impossible it would 
be for me to reach Honolulu by sailing-ship, see all the wonders of 
the Sandwich Isles, and then return to Kew Zealand or Sydney 
before Christmas, as I had proposed doing. 

Neither did I at all realise how very few travellers have ever 
seen the Marquesas, and how very little is known about them by 
the general public, beyond the bare facts of their having been dis- 
covered by the Spaniards in 1595, and by them named after the 
Marquesas de Mendoza, the Viceroy of Peru. 

They then seem to have been forgotten till about the year 1777, 
when they were visited by Captain Cook, who has recorded his 
admiration of their loveliness, and declared that the inhabitants 
were the finest race he had seen, " in fine shape and regular 
features perhaps surpassing all other nations," " as fair as some 
Europeans, and much tattooed." He found fine harbours, from 
twenty to thirty fathoms deep, close inshore, with clear sandy 
bottom ; good store of wood and water ; and at first the natives 
seemed inclined to receive the strangers kindly, but became less 
cordial on further acquaintance. 

Soon afterwards the London Mission endeavoured to establish a 


station in the group, but found, the people such savage cannibals, 
that the position was untenable, and they were forced to abandon 
it. From that time forward we have only an occasional record of 
some American man-of-war having touched there, invariably con- 
firming Cook's account of the beauty of the people and of the 

In 1837 the French sent out an exploring expedition command- 
ed by D'Urville, whose somewhat remarkable official orders were, 
" d'a2)privoiser les homines, et de rendre les femmes un j^stc j^hi.'i 
sauvages ! " 

The result of his report was, that the French decided on estab- 
lishing themselves in the Marquesas, the Society, and the Paumotu 
Isles. Accordingly, in 1842, an expedition sailed from Brest to 
effect this purpose, its destination being a secret known only to its 
commander. The Marquesas were selected as the best centre of 
operations. A squadron of four heavy frigates and three corvettes, 
commanded by Kear-Admiral Du Petit Thouars, accordingly aston- 
ished the natives by suddenly appearing in the lovely harbour of 
Taiohae, on the island of I^ukuheva ; and very soon these simple 
folk learned the full meaning of the gaj- tricoloured flags and brist- 
ling broadsides. 

The ostensible pretext for this invasion was that of reinstating 
Mowanna, the friendly chief of Xukuheva, in what the French 
thought proper to assume as his ancestral right — namely, that of 
ruling over the whole group of twelve isles, each of which had 
hitherto considered itself as a distinct world, subdivided into 
many antagonistic kingdoms. However, a puppet-king was the pre- 
text required, and Mowanna furnished it, and was rewarded with 
regal honours and a gorgeous military uniform, rich with gold 
lace and embroidery. 

Of course he and his tribe of Xukuhevans were vastly delighted, 
perceiving that they had gained omnipotent allies ; and when five 
hundred troops were landed in full uniform, and daily drilled by 
resplendent officers, their admiration knew no bounds. They re- 
collected how, when in 1811, the U.S. frigate Essex, commanded 
by Captain Porter, had refitted at Xukuheva, she had lent them a 


considerable force of sailors and marines, to assist their own body 
of 2000 men in attacking a neighbouring tribe. The latter had 
offered a desperate resistance, and repulsed the allied forces, who, 
however, consoled themselves by burning every village they could 
reach, thus giving the inhabitants good cause to hate the white 
men's ships. 

Xow, with the aid of these warlike French troops, the Xukuhevans 
thought themselves sure of victory, with the prospect of retaining 
the supremacy. But when fortifications were commenced, and the 
troops surrounded their camps with solid works of defence, making 
it evident that the occupation was to be a permanent one, a feeling 
of detestation, mingled with fear of the invaders, gradually increased, 
and was certainly not lessened by several sharji encounters, in one 
of which, 150 natives are said to have been slain. However, the 
reign of might prevailed, and the tricolour has floated over the 
Marquesas unchallenged from that time to the present. 

This appropriation of the Marquesas was immediately followed 
by that of the Society Isles, whither the admiral proceeded in the 
Eeiue Blanche frigate, leaving the rest of the squadron at the 
Marquesas. He anchored in the harbour of Papeete, and sent a 
message to Queen Pomare to the effect that, unless she immediately 
agreed to pay somewhere about .30,000 dollars as an indemnity for 
alleged insults to the French flag, he would bombard the defence- 
less town. 

The said insults were vei'y much like those offered by the lamb 
to the wolf in the old fable, the pretext raked up being simply 
that Queen Pomare and all her people, having already become 
stanch Christians, according to the teaching of the London Mission, 
had positively refused to allow certain French priests to settle in 
the isles, and found a Poman Catholic ]\Iission, with a view to 
proselytising. These proving obstinate in theu' determ'ination to 
remain, had, with all due honour, been conveyed on board a vessel 
about to sail for some distant port, with a sensible recommenda- 
tion to pursue their calling on some of the many isles which 
were still heathen. 

The French admiial now insisted that, in addition to [laying the 

240 A lady's cruise. 

indemnity demanded, the people of Tahiti should, at their own 
expense, erect a Roman Catholic church in every district where 
they had built one for their congregational worship. 

The unhappy queen, terrified lest the arrogant Du Petit Thouar.? 
should commence bombarding her helpless capital, yet utterly 
incapable of complying with his unjust demands, fled by night in 
a canoe to the isle of Moorea, knowing that no decisive action 
could be taken in her absence. Her best friend and adviser 
throughout these troubles was the British consul, Mr Pritchard. 
The admiral, perceiving this, caused him to be arrested and im- 
prisoned. After being kept for ten days in solitary confinement, 
he was put on board an English vessel out at sea, and forcibly 
sent away from the islands without a trial or investigation of any 

On his arrival in England the British Government naturally 
demanded an explanation of such proceedings. M. Guizot replied 
that the French authorities at Tahiti found they could make no 
progress there because of Mr Pritchard's great influence with the 
queen — in other words, his determination, if possible, to see fair 
play. The French Government, therefore, approved the action of 
its officials, but promised to indemnify Mr Pritchard for what they 
themselves described as his illegal imprisonment and pecuniary 
losses. We have, however, Mr Pritchard's own authority for the 
fact that, in the year 1880, he had never received one single sou 
of the promised indemnity ; and England apparently considered it 
the part of wisdom, if not of honour, to let the subject drop. 

So the French pirates (for certainly in all this matter they acted 
as such) compelled the poor queen and her chiefs to yield to their 
demands. Some, indeed, strove to make a brave stand, and drive 
the invaders from their shores ; but what could these unarmed 
warriors do against artillery ] They retreated to their mountain 
fastnesses, but French troops pursued them thither, built scientific 
forts, and remained masters of the position. The good, sensible 
queen, who had proved herself so wise a ruler of a happy and 
peaceful people up to this terrible November 1843, was now 
declared incompetent to govern. The French Protectorate was 


established,^ and the Keine Elauche having sahited the Protectorate 
flag, desh'ed the queen and chiefs to do likewise — an order which 
they were unable to obey, till the admiral politely offered to lend 
the necessary gunpowder ! Thus was this buccaneering expedition 
carried out, and France established as ruler in the three groups — 
the Marquesas, the Paumotus, and the Society Isles.^ It was a 
South Sea version of 

"The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, 
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold ; " — 

but in this case the lamb found no deliverer 

1 We can scarcely describe this proceeding as the thin end of the wedge, but it 
was obvious from the beginning that the assumption of the Protectorate was merely 
a cloak for forcibly taking possession of these gems of the Pacific. The cloak rvas 
finally thrown aside in June 1880, when King Pomare V. was persuaded by the 
commandant to cede the nominal sovereignty of the isles to those who had so long 
held its reality, and to accept a life-pension of 12,000 dollars a-year, which lie 
might enjoy in peace in his own fashion, and so escape from the continual tutoring, 
which made his kingly rank a wearisome burden, devoid of all honour. 

The annexation of Tahiti tvasfnrm-ally inoclaimed in Papeete on lith March 
1881, and was made the occasion of a brilliant festival, such as the light-hearted 
crowds are ever ready to welcome. Great were the official rejoicings. From every 
ship in the harbour, and every corner of the town, floated the tricolour, which 
likewise adorned the raven tresses of the women and the button-holes of the men. 
Great was the noise of big guns, and the amount of powder expended on salutes. 
An imposing column of all branches of the service — sailors and marines, marine 
artillery, with their guns, infantry, and gendarmes — marched round the town, 
headed by the band: "A Tahiti, comme en France, on aime a voir passer nos 
soldats," says the 'Messager de Tahiti.' So the lovely town was en fete. Every 
himene chorus had arrived from every corner of the isles, making the whole air 
musical. Thousands of natives, all in their brightest, freshest dresses, kept up in- 
cessant movement in the clear sunlight or cool shade. Everywhere games and 
feasting were the order of the day. In the governor's beautiful gardens, a brilliant 
banquet for upwards of a hundred persons was served in a great tent, all as grace- 
ful as the combined taste of France and Tahiti could make it. Then followed a 
lovely garden festival, just such as that described by " The Earl and the Doctor," 
a gay ball for the leading inhabitants, while " the people " danced no less joyously 
on the green, outside tlie sacred precincts. Games, music, dancing, and feasting, 
with a night of brilliant illuminations and fireworks, — all these, combined with 
lovely surroundings and perfect weather, made the great ofiicial festival of Tahiti a 
day which the French naval officers very naturally consider one to be rememberetl 
for ever, but which, perchance, may have caused some of the older inhabitants an 
angry and bitter pang, for the independence of their country thus lost for ever. 

2 Immediately after the declaration of the annexation of the Society Isles, comes 
the news that the French have also annexed the G'ambier Isles, which lie to the 
south-west, in the direction of Pitcairii's Isle. Our Gallic friends have thus secured 


242 A lady's CKUISE. 

Tliis bare historical outline was literally all I knew about the 
JVlarquesas Isles, and I doubt whether you or any one else in 
England knows much more. 

Now that tlirough my ignorance I have thrown away such a 
chance of visiting them, and also the Paumotus, I am told on all 
sides that they arc the loveliest grcnip in the I'acitic, ideal in their 
beauty — embodied poems ; and so I am fuming over my own folly, 
and telling myself that a traveller Avho could let slip such a golden 
opportunity must have reached second childhood, and is no longer 
fit to wander at large. I try to be philosophical, and not fret over 
the irrevocable ; but of all the scattered leaves that I have yet 
suflcred to float past me on that " stream that never returneth," 
none has aggravated me so sorely as this. I am assured on all 
hands that I should have received a genial welcome from the 

French governor and Madame and their little society, and 

that the expedition would have been in every respect exceptionally 

As it is, I can only gather a few faint visions of the lovely isles 
by stringing together such particulars as I can learn respecting 
them. To begin Avith, " Les isles Marquises " comprise twelve 
volcanic isles, thrown, up in wildly irregular black crags, the 
central range of the larger isles towering to a height of 5000 feet, 
wliile in many places inaccessible crags rise perpendicular from the 
sea, but are so exquisitely draped with parasitic plants as to re- 
ft wry «(/'/«iVai/e5e»iicr/'c/e o/^^e/oi/rji^riwi groups in the Eastern Pacific. Here 
they can now consolidate their strength, and await the influx of commerce which 
innst of necessity pass through this cordon, when M. Lesseps shall have opened the 
Panama Canal for the traffic of the 2Corld. 

Here French sliips will touch on their way to and from the Loyalty Isles and 
Cocliin-China ; while ships of all nations, plying between Europe and Australasia, 
will necessarily pass the same way, and contribute their (juota to the wealth of tlie 
French Pacific. 

The Gam bier Islands have been gradually prejiared for their adoption by France, 
tlie Catholic Mission having there ruled supreme for some twenty years. 

Till quite recently, the Biblo has been a prohibited book, but now, of the few 
remaining natives, a large proportion are learning to read Tahitian, in order to be 
able to study the Scriptures for themselves ; and the Protestant Mission in Tahiti 
has responded to this desire, by sending copies of the New Testament for gratui- 
tous distribution in tlie group. From one cause or another, however, a very small 
number of natives now exist, the islands having become welinigh depopulated. 


seinble a succession of green waterfalls. Not that true waterfalls 
are lacking. On the contrary, the mountains are furrowed with 
deep ravines, in each one of which flows a sparkling river of clear- 
est water, fed by countless cascades, which fall from high cliffs, 
and, uniting in the upper valleys, leap in rushing cataracts over 
the sheer precipices, by which alone they may reach the lower 

Six of these islands are inhabited — namely, Nukuheva, Hiva- 
oa (commonly called Dominica), Tetuhiva, Tahuata, Uapou, and 
Uahuna. Of these, the principal are Nukuheva and Dominica. 

The former is about 17 miles in length by 12 in breadth — the 
the latter 20 by 7. The population of the group, which a few 
years ago was roughly estimated at from 15,000 to 20,000, does 
not now exceed 5000, of whom 3000 are the inhabitants of 
I^ominique. On all the other islands the population was deci- 
mated about fifteen years ago by the so-called Peruvian labour 
trade — in other words, remorseless kidnappers. Smallpox was 
also introduced by foreign ships, and, as in all new countries where 
it breaks out for the first time, swept the isles like a consuming 
fire, leaving to this day the trace of its awful ravages. 

It broke out in the year 1863, and quickly spread throughout 
the group. On the isle of Nukuheva it raged with frightful viru- 
lence, and carried off a great multitude. Jose, a Peruvian convert 
who had found his way to the Marquesas, and established himself 
as an evangelist, devoted himself with untiring patience and zeal 
to the care of the sick, whose panic-stricken friends forsook them, 
and left him alone to tend that terrible company of miserable 
sufferers. Single-handed, he buried tlie dead ; but, thanks to his 
self-devotion, many recovered, and by his good influence were won 
from their gross cannibalism and heathenism to the faith he so 
nobly taught them by its practice. But just then the French 
authorities sold all that district to Stewart & Co., a company of 
English and French merchants, who converted it into cotton and 
coffee plantations, and Jose was ordered to leave ! 

The new-comers took possession of lands wellnigh depopulated 
by the terrible smallpox. Silence and desolation brooded over the 

241: A lady's CliUISE. 

rich and beautiful valleys, where bread-fruit, cocoa-palms, guavas, 
l)apa\vs, anil all manner of tropical fruits ripened unheeded, for 
there were none to gather them. 

Thus where a few years ago the natives could be counted by 
thousands, there are now only scattered villages, thinly peopled. 

Happily the ravages of constant intertribal wars are held in 
check by tlie presence of the French. In former days the Mar- 
quesans were fierce cannibals, and the inhabitants of each lovely 
valley waged war to the death against all other tribes. 

The almost inaccessible mountain-ridges rise from the sea-level, 
somewhat in the general form of a great star-fish, the space between 
the arms being filled by verdant and most fertile valleys, where all 
manner of fruit-trees grow luxuriantly, and where the different 
tribes live, each in its own territory, and well shielded by its 
natural position from all incursions of its neighbours. For each 
A'allcy is thus enclosed by abrupt precipitous crags, several hundred 
feet in height, over which leap cool sparkling rivulets, bringing 
abundant moisture to irrigate the yam and taro crops, the sugar- 
cane, cotton, and all the rich herbage which flourishes beneath the 
dense foliage of bread-fruit and bananas. 

Embowered in this green paradise are homes built of the yellow 
Ijamboo, Avhose feathery foliage waves so gracefully in every direc- 
tion. Tlie houses are thatched with palmetto-leaves, sun-bleached 
to a dazzling whiteness. They resemble the Tahitian native houses, 
but are built on oblong platforms of raised stones, such as those 
which form the foundation of Fijian houses, and which are a neces- 
sary protection against the damp of these isles, whose excessive 
verdure tells of a heavy rainfall. The chief wealth of the people 
lies -in their pigs, which were introduced by the Spaniards, who 
consequently were venerated as gods. Cats and rats are also foreign 
importations. The group has literally no indigenous mammalia, 
and indeed very few birds. 

In. former years the women manufactured native cloth, as in the 
other groups, but now a considerable amount of gay calico lends 
colour to brighten the scene. Here, however, as in other countries, 
the French prove themselves bad colonists. In most respects the 


Protectorate is merely nominal, and nothing in the way of improve- 
ment flourishes. 

As I before mentioned, the first attempt of the London Mission 
to establish a footing here failed signally. 

In 1797, two Englishmen — Messrs Crook and Harris — were 
sent out to try and establish a footing in the Marquesas. Harris 
found his heart fail at the dangers and horrors of the position, so 
he returned at once to Tahiti. Mr Crook worked alone for a year, 
and then returned to England in search of helpers. He does not 
seem to have resumed his dangerous post for some years, and then 
merely visited the group. Meanwhile Tahitian converts were sent 
out as teachers, but without much success, so they returned to 
Tahiti. Others took up the work, and also failed to maintain their 

In 1833, three American missionaries left the Sandwich Isles, 
accompanied by their wives, and contrived to endure eight months 
in Nukuheva, endeavouring to tame and Christianise its brutal 
savages ; but they also had to give up the attempt. 

In 1834, a fresh party of English missionaries renewed the 
effort, and struggled on till about 1840, when the London Mission 
finally abandoned the field. 

But in 1853, a Marquesan chief, Matanui, came to the Sandwich 
Isles in a Avhale-ship, and requested that teachers should be sent 
to his people. Thereiipon Mr Bicknell, an Englishman, accom- 
panied by four Hawaiian teachers and their wives, agreed to return 
with him to his island, Fatuhiva. Five days after they arrived, a 
French brig anchored there, bringing a Catholic priest, who de- 
manded that they should be at once sent away, and declared that 
the Marquesas belonged to France, and that no English teacher 
would be tolerated. This statement was at once denied by the 
chiefs, who refused to dismiss their teachers, though they by no 
means yielded implicit obedience to their lessons, or even treated 
them with uniform kindness. Nevertheless the Hawaiian teachers 
have held their ground, and though discouraged and oppressed, 
they have continued to work silently but steadily, training native 
teachers from among their converts, establishing boarding schools, 


rvhereby to separate their scliolars from evil influence at home, 
organising cliurches, and, in short, doing all in their power to 
advance the good cause. 

It Avas felt that a great step had been gained when the oppres- 
sive system of tahu had received its first blow by many of the 
higli chiefs coming to a feast at the mission, in company with 
their wives, as heretofore it had been forbidden for father, mother, 
or grown-uj) child to eat one with another — all had to feed apart ; 
and the same senseless prnhil)itions extended in endless ramifica- 
tions through all actions of life. Xow the system of tahu has 
fallen into neglect, and the Hawaiian Mission has gained ground, 
notwithstanding much hindrance from the opposition and inter- 
ference of the Roman Catholic priests. 

^Nevertheless, to all intents and purposes, the majority of the 
people are still savages, and the present mission of the Seignelay 
is to inquire into recent cases of alleged cannibalism, said to have 
occurred in the interior of Dominica, where the hill-tribes and 
fisher-tribes still live at constant enmity. It is said to be the 
most fertile island in the group, and to have the largest popu- 

The French governor is supported by sundry officials, and a 
detachment of about sixty soldiers, a dozen rjens d'armes, and a 
few native police. ■"■ 

1 Although thu French have had possession of the group for so many years, the 
natives of some of the islands have never been really in subjection to the authorities 
until last year, when Admiral Bergasse du Petit Thouars visited the group, and 
with the aid of volunteers, natives of Tahiti, and of the friendly isles of Marquesas, 
succeeded in disarming and bringing into .subjection the hostile tribes, and that 
without firing a shot. 

The admiral himself headed the troops across the mountains from village to 
village, arriving one night on the coast about midnight, having been conducted by 
natives who knew the passes : these jiasses M'ere lighted up by the electric light 
from tlie frigate, which was anchored in the bay. The French took 600 muskets 
from the natives of the two islands, Hiva-oa and Fatuhiva. They say that the 
natives are really not a bad sort of people, but their curse, like that of all the 
islands, is ^' drink." Tins, and the conduct of unprincipled foreigners, has been 
t\ie real cause of all the trouble. 

I atlix a note which I copy from tlie * Messager de Tahiti ' for 30th of July 1880, 
which is all that has appeared in the paper on the subject : — 

" Le Contre-Amiral commandant en chef le corps expcditionnaice aux Marquises, 


The Catholic ]\Iission consists of a. bishop, with a cousidcraTjIe 
Euraber of priests, and a sisterhood like those on 'J'onga, Samoa, 
and Tahiti. The priests work hard, but apparently with small 
result. It is whispered that tlie presence of a ]ar<re number nf 
very irreligious white men has a highly demoralising intiuence on 
the natives — as we can well understand ; and even the Frencli 
Government, which took such a lively interest in the introduction 
of Catholicism to Tahiti, seems to take none in the progress of the 
mission in the Marquesas. 

In the matter of stone and mortar a good deal has been done, 
well-built churches having been erected in all tlie principal valleys, 
in the proportion of one church to every 150 inhabitants. Un- 
fortunately, however, the people show small disposition to adopt 
any form of Christianity. The queen Viakehu and a few of her 
liousehold are devout Catholics ; and a little flock, who profess to 
be Christians, rally round each of the missionaries, but the majority 
continue heathen, with a deeply rooted belief in their old suix-r- 
stitions. I have just received a photograph of one of the JNlar- 
quesan stone idols, with two of its worshippers. It is singularly 
liideous, and the head is crowned with a circular cap-stone, re- 
sembling on a small scale the crowns of Easter Island. 

But if the Catholic Mission has hitherto failed in its ostensible 
work, it has at least given the natives a good example of industry; 
for every available inch of ground within reach of the mission is 
under most careful cultivation, and is made to grow cxcelh^it 

Though the Marquesans are too idle to do any sort of jdanting 
beyond what is actually necessary for the cultivation of their 
gardens, the example set by the mission has been followed by 
various settlers. Foremost among these is Caj>tain Hart, a man 
of great energy, Avho has done much to advance tlit; hading interest 

ti'moigne au.x volontaires Taliitieiis, aiix voloiitaires Marquisieiis, aux militaires da 
toutes amies, ainsi qu'aux iiiariiis (jui out pris part a rex[)('(lil,ioii ('I's Marquises, 
toute sa satisfaction. 

" Gr4ce a leur esprit Tiiililaire, a leur (h'voueiiient et a leur iliscip'ine, I'ile de 
Hiva-oa et celle de Fatiiliiva out ete rapi<lenient soumises et desariiie.s, et la paix 
rc'gne partout aux Marquises." 

2iS A lady's cuuise. 

of the islands, and who on one of liis plantations employs forty- 
Chinamen, and about sixty natives of the Gilbert Islands — for 
here, as in all other places where white men endeavour to culti- 
vate the land, they find it necessary to employ labourers imported 
from other isles, as they cannot extract the same amount of work 
from men living on their native soil. 

Hitherto only about a hundred Chinese, and as many Gilbert 
Islanders, have been imported, and cotton is the only article grown 
expressly for exportation. Of course where cocoa-palms are so 
abundant, a considerable amount of coppra^ is to be obtained ; but 
the natives have unfortunately been instructed in the art of mak- 
ing palm-rum, and trees which have been tapped for this purpose 
rarely recover their full strength as nut -producers. Happily, in 
this matter, self - interest leads the colonists to support the mis- 
sionaries in their endeavours to dissuade the people from thus mis- 
using the palm-trees ; but, on the other hand, foreign traders are 
too ready to supply more fiery stimulants, and drunkenness pre- 
vails to a grievous extent. 

ISfearly all these isles supply one indigenous article of commerce 
— namely, a kind of fungus, which is much appreciated in China. 
It looks like dried-up leather, but is not unpalatable when stewed 
or served in soup. A considerable amount of this is obtained in 
most of the Marquesan valleys. 

Of colonists, properly so called, there are very few. About fifty 
white men are scattered throughout the isles. Of these, some trade ; 
others cultivate the soil ; while a few wander aimlessly from bay 
to bay, island to island, living upon whatever the natives like to 
give them : they are either too lazy to work, or too dishonest to 
find employment. These men include waifs from all nationalities, 
including Scotch, English, Irish, American, German, Spanish, and 
Portuguese. Although a French colony, there are only three or 
four French subjects who can be classed as colonists ; but here, as 
elsewhere, the frugal and diligent Chinaman seems likely to take 
firm root. 

jSI'ukuheva bay (where the Seignelay is probably now anchored) 
1 Sun-dried nut, exported for the manufacture of oil. 


is described as surpassingly lovely. It is a perfect harbour, with 
very deep water, and forms a horse-shoe about nine miles in cir- 
cumference, ending in two lofty and abrupt headlands. The 
entrance is very narrow, barely half a mile across, and is guarded 
on each side by small conical isles, rising about 500 feet above the 
sea. All round the harbour the greenest of low hills swell in 
gentle undulations, while behind these rise majestic mountains, 
whence steep rocky ridges trend seaward, dividing the vast amphi- 
theatre into several distinct valleys, which, narrowing as they 
ascend, become deep, romantic glens. Here and there snowy cas- 
cades, gleaming through the rich verdure, tell where the precipitous 
crags close in the valleys. Some of these barrier-cliffs rise perpen- 
dicularly, to a height of perhaps 1500 feet. So rich is the growth 
of parasitical plants, which cling to every crevice, that these mighty 
rugged crags appear only to be green walls surmounted by black 
basaltic pinnacles and cones, beyond which tower the blue peaks 
of some of the higher ridges, which occupy the whole centre of the 
isle, rising to a height of about 4000 feet. 

There are in these sheltered vales many old men who, in all 
their long lives, have never set foot out of their own little 
boundary. Those vine-clad cliffs have hemmed them in, and the 
mountain wilderness beyond has offered no inducement to roving. 
No fruit, no game ; only the certainty of excessive toil for no 
reward, and the possibility of wandering unintentionally within 
the territory of some other tribe, ever on the watch to slay any 
imprudent straggler. 

The lives of the women have been even more circumscribed, 
owing to an extraordinary law of tahu, which prohibits a female 
from setting foot in a canoe ; consequently her farthest voyage is 
regulated by her powers of swimming; and so, when a foreign 
vessel arrives in port, and the Marquesan nymphs wish to inspect 
it more closely, they can only do so by swimming. Small wonder 
if sailors, perceiving those fair-skinned beauties, with their tresses 
of long black hair floating around them, suppose their visitors to 
be a company of mermaids ! From all accounts many of these 
girls are really beautiful. In stature they are somewhat diminu- 


live, wlicreas tlie mon average over six feet. As in Tahiti and 
other tropical climates, the constitution ripens at a very early age, 
so that mere children may be seen playing with their own babies 
instead of dolls. Happily the responsibilities of housekeeping do 
not weigh heavily in these isles, where nature is so generous, the 
climate so genial, and food so abundant. 

I am told that the bread-fruit tree in particular flourishes in the 
^Marquesas to an extent unknown elsewhere, and grows to an 
enormous size — the ripe fruit, either freshly gathered or in its 
manufactured form of ^)o?, forming the staple food of the isles. 

The Marquesans have the same love of flowers as their neigli- 
bours, and the girls vie one with another in producing the love- 
liest garlands, bracelets, and anklets, sometimes of blossoms and 
leaves intertwined, but more often of single flowers, plucked from 
their calyx and strung together on a tliin fibre of tappa, while 
snowy buds take the place of pearl ear-rings. The fragrant white 
blossoms of a large tree are those most in favour. 

But the permanent adornment is that of tattooing, which the 
jNIarij^uesans have brought to greater perfection than any other 
South Sea Islanders, except perhaps the ^Maoris of Xew Zealand, 
their very fair skin affording a tempting parchment for the artist's 
work. The patterns are quaint, and very elaborately worked out in 
every conceivable variety of curve. Some of the older men an; 
thus decorated from head to foot. Even the face is not spared, a 
favourite pattern being a strongly marked triangle, the base sweep- 
ing across the lips from ear to ear, whence the other lines ascend, 
crossing both eyelids, to meet on the shaven crown. Other men 
prefer three broad stripes carried straight across the face, — one 
across the eyes, a second across the nose, a third sweeping across the 
mouth from ear to ear. A really well-tattooed man is a sort of 
walking volume of illustrated natural history, so numerous may be 
tlie strange creatures of earth, sea, and air, delineated on his much- 
enduring skin, — birds and butterflies, fishes and crabs, lizards and 
snakes, octopi and star-fish, flowers and fruits, all traced in delicate 
blue lines on a most silky, olive-coloured surface. Those who go 
in for artistic unity of design sometimes have the stem of some 


gi'aceful tree traced along the spine, Avhile the spreading branclu;?. 
extend on either shoulder and droop down the sides, and delicately 
traced vines twine spirally round arms and legs, birds and insects 
appearing among the leaves. 

I have been told that in one of the beautiful valleys lying farther 
round the isle than ^N^ukuheva harbour there are Cyclopean remains, 
somewhat suggestive of the tombs of the Toui Tongas which we 
saw in the Friendly Isles. Among the dense groves which clothe 
the base of the mountain lie a series of vast terraces, each about 
a hundred yards long by twenty wide, and disposed one abovn 
another on the mountain-side, like gigantic steps. They are built 
of oblong blocks of stone, some of which are fifteen feet long l)y 
five or six wide. Though perfectly smooth, they bear no mark of 
any tool, and are laid without cement. Huge trees have taken 
root in the crevices, and their interlacing boughs now form a dense 
canopy above this monument of a forgotten race, concerning which 
the Marquesans themselves have no tradition. So impenetrable 
is the growth of vines in that green wilderness, that a stranger 
might pass the spot — nay, actually cross the terraces by the native 
track — withovit observing them. It is another of the mysteries of 
the stone age. 

But, on a much smaller scale, tliere exist in the Marquesas 
marais similar to those of Tahiti, which have been the temples and 
the tombs of the present inhabitants ever since they knew their 
own history, — and even these are sufficiently large to make one 
marvel how they could have been erected by a race ignorant of all 
mechanical arts, and owning only such rude stone implements. 
Beside the marais there are a vast number of very old stone 
foundations, similar to those on which the houses are invariably 
raised, probably telling of a diminished population. The man who, 
in the present day, wishes to l)uild himself a bamboo house, can 
therefore appropriate one of these ready-made foundations, and laid 
the hardest part of his house-building already accomplished. 

I cannot learn that there is any trace of active volcanic agency 
now existing in the Marquesas, though in some districts sulphur- 
springs and mineral waters of various kinds have been found. 

252 A lady's cruise. 

On the island of Iliva-oa (or Dominica), in the valley of Ta-oa, 
about one mile and a half from the beach, and about 300 feet 
above the level of the sea, there is a hole two inches in diameter, 
from which, when the sea is rough, there rises a strongly sulphur- 
ous steam, accompanied by a loud noise, like the steam-pipe of a 
steamer. When the water is smooth there is -only a slight noise 
and no steam, only a strong smell of sulphur. 

My attention has just been called to an exceedingly interesting 
letter from the Rev. Titus Coan, which appeared ten years ago in a 
Hawaiian paper. He had just returned to Honolulu after visiting 
the Marquesas in the little mission-ship Morning Star. He speaks 
of the foreign settlement at Taiohae or JTukuheva, as having been 
allowed to fall into great disrepair. The jetty, the forts, the ar- 
senal, the fine road sweeping round the head of the bay — in fact, 
all the former works and improvements of the French — are fast 
going to decay, and only a few hundred natives, in place of the 
thousands of a few years earlier. 

He was most courteously received by the French bishop, who 
gave him much information about the people, and spoke hopefully 
of progress made on the north - west isles of the group, though 
the pagan tribes on the windward isles, especially on Dominica 
and jNIagdalena, were still wild and defiant. 

Mr Coan then visited the convent, where the French Sisters 
devote their lives to the training of Marquesan girls. About sixty 
girls board in the large airy house, their ages ranging from four to 
sixteen — happy, healthy-looking girls, lovingly taught by gentle, 
highly educated French ladies, and everything done to make their 
lives so cheery, that there may be no hankering for heathen pleas- 
ures. Of these girls, Mr Coan remarks that he has rarely seen more 
perfect specimens of physical organisation, brighter faces, or more 
active minds, than among the Marquesan children, many of whom 
are beautiful, bright, and blithesome. 

A corresponding school for boys is established, under a French 
secular teacher. 

Though the settlement of Taiohae cannot be reckoned as very 
" go- ahead," it certainly sounds as if it might be a singularly attrac- 


tive resting-place — the houses smothered in luxuriant foliage, both 
indigenous and exotic, ornamental and fruit-bearing ; banyan, iron- 
wood, candle-nut, hybiscus, palms, bread-fruit, orange, citron, lemon, 
guava. South Sea chestnut, and ever so many other trees, all grow- 
ing in richest beauty ; and every rock and pinnacle is carpeted with 
mosses and grasses, or festooned with tropical vines. The precipi- 
tous crags all around are so thickly clothed, that they suggest green 
velvet draperies striped with lines of molten silver; these are 
merry cascades, falling from sources 3000 feet above the valley, 
and forming three large streams, which dash among rocky boulders 
on their seaward way. 

But Mr Coan seems to award the palm of beauty to the valley 
of Atuona on Isle Hiva-oa. He says it is a broad, deep valley, 
umbrageous and peaceful, and Avatered by a limpid, babbling stream. 
The trees are magnificent, and the vines run riot in their luxuriance. 
The great rampart of rocks rising in the background is the highest 
point of all the islands, and it is usually wreathed with clouds. 
" The broken hills form columns, spurs, pinnacles, coves, and sharp 
lateral ribs. Some are round, some angular, some stratified, some 
laminated, some truncated, some pointed. They lie in all positions 
— horizontal, tilted, vertical — with heaps of scoria revealing their 
igneous origin. Rock is piled on rock, hill upon hill, ridge upon 
ridge, mountain upon mountain — serried, castellated, turreted, 
. . . forming masses of confused harmony, defying all the art 
of the limner, the pen-and-ink painter, and the descriptive powers 
of man." 

Now I do hope you sympathise in my ever-increasing regret 
at having missed my chance of visiting so marvellous a scene of 
beauty ! 

The climate, too, must be delightful. It is soft and balmy, and 
the dense foliage affords such constant shade that even the rays of 
a tropical sun can only trickle through in bright gleams, while the 
cooling sea-breeze seems never to fail. Severe storms are rare, and 
hurricanes unknown in the group. In short, the climate is (iquable, 
mild, and wellnigh perfect. 

The mission party sailed from one beautiful isle to another, to 

254 A LADY S CliUISE. 

visit the toachers already established, and to bring them fresh 
helpers. They landed on Uahuna, which, like the other isles, is 
high, broken, and precipitous. Their arrival was an unexpecteil 
joy to the good Laioha and his wife I'^wa, who had been settled 
here about a year previously, and already had made a considerable 
impression on the people. Laioha Idew a loud blast on a liorn ; 
and its echoes, reaching the villages nestled among precipices far up 
the valley, soon brought together about fifty wild men and women 
— some of whom had already maile considerable progress in reading 
and writing. 

At Paumau about a hundred people assembled under the trees, 
on the beautiful shore. Many carried spears and war-clubs, whal- 
ing-spades or shark -spears. Some had the head shaven all over; 
some in zones and belts, vertical or horizontal ; some on one side, 
some on the other ; some with a tuft of hair on the crown, some 
on the forehead, some on the occiput, and some hanging over the 
right or the left ear. And thus it was with the tattooing. The 
wildest taste and most fantastic and capricious figures were dis- 
played upon the face, arms, legs, and over the whole body. Chil- 
dren are not tattooed ; females but little, consequently they look 
like another and a milder race of beings. 

To this strange crowd Mr Coan and his friends endeavoured to 
explain some of the simplest doctrines of Christianity. One old 
warrior, heavily tattooed, and with closely shaven head, who carried 
a large green leaf to shade his eyes, was witty and sceptical, and 
brought up many obj(;ctions to the new creed. But presently he 
confessed that it was good, and bade Mr Coan speak also to his 
(diief. The latter, on hearing of a heaven in which there was 
neither fighting nor hunger, remarked that " it would be a good 
place for cowards and lazy folk, who are afraid to fight, and too 
indolent to climb cocoa-palms or bread-fruit trees." His repartees 
excited laughter in the crowd ; but after a while, he, like the old 
warrior, declared that it was good, and that he would forsake 

Pressing the hand of his new white friend, he said, " Kaolia oe" 
— " Love to thee." He became serious and earnest, and listened 


with fixed interest to all the words then spoken ; and the meeting 
only dispersed when darkness overshadowed the land. A fine old 
lady of eighty, one of the early converts (who at her baptism had 
added the name of Eve to her own native name of Hipa-Hipa), was 
brought forward by her friends, and clasping Mr Coan's hands, 
placed them on her own silvery head, as she welcomed him for his 
work's sake. 

The mission-ship next proceeded to Ilakahekau, on Isle Uapou, 
to carry needful supplies to the Rev. S. Ivauwealoha, who has 
laboured for several years among its beautiful valleys and wild 
cannibal inhabitants. He is described as a man of great energy 
and activity, Ijoth physical and intellectual, with a large and gener- 
ous heart, ever ready to put head, heart, and hand to any work 
which will help others, or advance the cause of Christ. His talents 
are versatile. He can work in wood, iron, stone, and mortar ; can 
build a good house ; construct, rig, row, and sail a boat ; or act as 
pilot in all the harbours of the group. He Avill work bareheaded 
and barefooted, and can swim and dive in the surf like a porpoise. 
He is very intelligent, speaks and reads English tolerably, and, by 
getting hold of an occasional newspaper, he manages to keep up 
with the current news of the age. As a missionary he is earnest in 
prayer, energetic in preaching, and firm in principle, and foreigners 
and natives alike respect him. 

While the vessel was landing its stores, its passengers explored 
scenery of indescribable loveliness. Passing through a valley rich 
with luxuriant vegetation, they reached a point three miles in the 
interior, where they commanded a general view of the sublime land- 
scape. " Within a vast amphitheatre of rugged hills, which send 
down their serrated spurs to the shore, buttressed by bold and lofty 
jn-ecipices, are eight remarkable cones, 200 to 300 feet high, and 
iJO to 100 feet in diameter, standing as everlasting columns against 
the sky, giving to the whole the character of a castellated fortress. 
The fantastic forms produced by the force of ancient volcanic fires, 
by the abrading action of winds, rain, and chemical agencies on 
these isles, are amazing." 

Passing on to Isle Eutuiva, the vessel anchored in Ilanavave 


Bay, embowered in magnificent liills, with towering rocks like lofty- 
minarets guarding its entrance. Mr Coan says the scene was so 
grand as to be almost overpowering. He rowed for some miles 
along the wonderful coast, which he believes to be almost without 
an equal in nature. Eocky cliffs, towering domes, and lofty prec- 
ipices, rent, grooved, and fluted, everywhere charmed the eye ; and 
from these bold heights, sometimes of 2000 feet, silvery cascades 
leaped to the sea. 

Here and there shaded dells opened along the rocky shore. 
Small valleys filled with fruit-bearing trees, and murmuring with 
living waters, appeared as if by enchantment. But all were desolate, 
for fierce bloody war had slain the inhabitants, or driven them from 
these Edens of beauty. 

For the tribes of Hanavave Bay have waged ceaseless war with 
those of Omoa, and the latter seem of late years to have had the 
best of it. 

At Omoa (which is separated from Hanavave by dividing ridges 
of inaccessible crags and precipices), the Hawaiian teachers as- 
sembled to meet Mr Coan and his friends. The party consisted 
of the Kev. S. Kauwealoha, the Rev. J. Kekela, the Eev. A. 
Kaukau, the Eev. T. W. Kaiwi, the Eev. Z. Hapuku, and ISIr T. 
"\V. Laioha. The names are characteristic. So is the fact of the 
Eev. Z. Hapuku going out to meet the ship, by diving through 
raging surf in which no boat could live, that he might pilot the 
vessel to another bay, where the boats found a landing-place on a 
smooth sand-beach ; and the visitors were led to the mission-house 
l)y an avenue, cut like a long tunnel, through the hybiscus and 
cotton shrubs. 

At Oiuoa a large proportion of the native converts had assembled 
for church services. About seventy persons were present. In the 
morning a new pastor was ordained to the work of the ministry. 
In the afternoon seventeen adults and two children were baptised, 
and afterwards the Holy Communion was administered to about 
forty communicants, nearly all of whom had but a few years, or 
even months, previously, been reclaimed from heathenism and wild 
cannibal orgies. 


The schools of Omoa Avere examined on the following day, and 
about seventy scholars were found under tuition, of whom tifty- 
four could read, and many had made some progress in arithmetic 
and geography. 

As if in special contrast to this meeting of the Christians, the 
heathen Marquesans were engaged in some curious ceremonies, in 
honour of a celebrated prophetess who had died six weeks pre- 
viously. Her name was Kauakamikihei. They had built a house 
for her, 12 feet wide by 24 long, and 48 feet high. On the top of 
this house they placed a target of white native cloth (there called 
hapa), and supposed to represent the moon. At this the men fired 
their muskets, and shouts of triumph greeted the lucky shots. 

Afterwards a great company of tattooed savages rushed to the 
shore, with wild shouts, carrying a sacred canoe, which was covered 
with a broad flat frame of bamboo, on which was erected a small 
round house, covered with mats. In this were placed a live pig, a 
dog, and a cock, also some bread-fruit, cocoa-nuts, and a bowl of 
poi. The canoe was much ornamented, and rigged Avith mast, and 
sail of kcqxi. AVith much shouting it was launched, and pushed 
by bold SAvimmers through the roaring surf into the open sea, 
Avliere they left it and returned to shore. The canoe drifted sloAvIy 
out of the bay, but struck on the northern headland, Avhere it Avas 
in danger of being dashed to pieces on the rocks, Avhen a native 
ran round the harbour and once more shoved off the fmil bark, 
Avhich sailed out to sea Avith its living freight. This ceremony Avas 
a final offering to the god Avhom the dead prophetess or priestess 
had served, and closed the season of koina or tuhu, Avliich had 
lasted six Aveeks, during Avhich all manner of servile Avork or vain 
recreation Avere alike forbidden. 

From these frequent allusions to heavy surf breaking on the 
shore, you may infer that the coral barrier-reef is Avanting on most 
of the Marquesan isles. The fact is, that in many cases, these 
volcanic crags rise so precipitously, from so great a depth, that the 
diligent corals have failed to gain a resting-j)lace, and so the sea 
dashes on the shore Avith unabated violence. 

Strangely in contrast Avith these picturesque volcanic isles, is 


258 A lady's cruise. 

that other group over -which, also, I grieve as over a lost in- 

TIio Paumotus {i.e., cloud of islands) — or, as we used to call it, 
the Low or Dangerous Archipelago — is a cluster of eighty very 
flat coral-isles, most of which are of the nature of atolls, some 
shaped like a horse-shoe, others so nearly circular that only small 
canoes can enter the calm lagoon which occupies the centre ; and 
some are perfect rings, having no visible connection whatever 
with the ocean, which, nevertheless, finds a subterranean passage 
through which the waters rush in a strong current as the tides rise 
and fall. Such lagoons as these are generally encircled by a belt 
of swamp, which can only be crossed by laying down pathways of 
long branches ; these act in the same way as huge Canadian snow- 
shoes, and enable the light-footed natives to pass in safety across 
the treacherous green surface to the margin of the lake, where they 
keep small canoes in which to paddle about in search of eels and 
shrimps, and various kinds of fish. The water-supply is generally 
deficient, and only by sinking wells in the coral-sand can even 
))rackish water be oltained. There are, however, exceptions to 
this rule, and some isles have good springs. But at best, the 
people depend greatly on their cocoa-nuts for drink even more 
than for food, and happily this supply rarely fails them. The 
coral-bed supplies neither soil nor water sufficient to raise any 
regular crops. Here and there a sort of caladium with edible 
root grows wild, but yams or taro are only known as imported 
luxuries. Forest -trees and scrub, however, contrive to find a 
living, and form a dense growth over most of the isles ; and here 
and there clumps of carefully cultivated bananas, orange-trees, or 
bread-fruit, tell of a richer and deeper soil, probably accumulated 
with patient toil. Fig-trees and limes also flourish. 

Some of the lagoon-reefs have a diameter of about forty miles, 
and only rise above the water in small isles, forming a dotted 

I believe it is generally supposed that such coral-rings as these 
have in many cases been the encircling reef formed round some 
volcanic isle, which has gradually subsided, whereas th^e reef- 


building corals have continually risen higher and higher, so as to 
remain in the shallow water, in which alone they can live, and 
thus in course of ages the condition of things becomes reversed. 
The once fertile isle disappears beneath the ocean, whereas the 
coral-reef, rising to just below high-water mark, gradually accumu- 
lates shells and sea- weeds ; the sea deposits drift of all sorts, and, 
little by little, a soil is formed which becomes fertile, and presently 
cocoa-nuts drift from far-away isles, and weeds of many sorts are 
carried by the birds, or float on the currents, and so the isle 
becomes fertile — a ring instinct with life, rising perpendicularly 
from the deep sea on the outer side, and very often on the inner 
side also. 

Where this is the case, and the inner lagoon appears as fathom- 
less as the outer sea, it is supposed that the atoll has been formed 
on the rim of a sunken crater, colonies of living corals having 
settled on its surface so soon as it subsided below high-water 
mark. This theory seems the more probable, from the manner in 
which you find these circular coral-isles densely clustered in certain 
localities, and none in other groups, just as in some regions we find 
innumerable extinct craters covering the whole surface of the land, 
and can readily imagine that should such a district subside, each 
cup-like crater might soon be covered with corals. 

As in some craters the lava-flow has rent a gap near the summit 
whereby to escape, and in other craters it has found for itself a 
subterranean passage, leaving the upper crust unbroken, so in these 
atolls, some are perfect rings, and the tides ebb and flow within 
the lagoons by submarine channels, while others have an open 
passage, deep enough for a ship to sail into the inner lake. 

The principal island in the Paumotu group is that of Manga 
Eeva, a cluster of five isles, all within one encircling reef. The 
main isle is a basaltic mass, rising 2000 feet above the sea-level. 
It is the most fertile of the group, and is the headquarters of the 
French bishop and his clergy. The Paumotus have a population 
of about 5000 persons, the majority of whom are Roman Catholics. 
They are a fine independent race, and in old days were accounted 
brave warriors. 

260 A lady's cruise. 

Now a large number make tlieir living by diving for the great 
pearl shell-oysters, which are found in many of the lagoons at a 
depth of from ten to twenty fathoms, attached to the coral-rock by 
a strong ])yssus — i.e., a bunch of silky golden-brown filaments, 
which the diver cuts with his knife, and so secures his prize. This 
silken cable is attached to the muscle of the fish itself, and passes 
through an aperture at the hinge. An expert diver can remain 
under water for about three minutes. In some of the isles women 
are accounted the most skilfid divers, especially in deep water, 
where the largest shells are found, some actually measuring 
eighteen inches across — such beautiful great shields of gleaming 

The pearls themselves are not very abundant, and are generally 
found in the less perfect shells, the inmates of which are either 
sickly or have inadvertently admitted grains of coral-sand, which 
they have been unable to eject. But sometimes the large healthy 
shells contain one beautiful perfect pearl, not lodged in the musch 
in the ordinary way, but lying loose in the shell ; and though it is 
certain that many are lost through carelessness, a considerable 
number have taken high rank among the noted pearls of the civil- 
ised world. I believe that those composing the Empress Eugi5nie's 
splendid necklace were collected in the Paumotus, and that Queen 
Victoria's pearl, which is valued at £6000, was also found there. 
In heathen days all the best pearls were treasured in the idol 
temples, and some of the early adventurers are known to have 
made a very lucrative business by exchanging cheap muskets for 
bags of pearls. The same disease or discomfort which produces 
these lovely gems often takes a form less valued, but still very 
beautiful — large distorted pearly lumps, often the size of two 
joints of the little finger, and assuming all manner of quaint forms, 
sometimes resembling a human hand. I have seen some which 
had been set as pins and brooches, which I thought very attractive. 

These, however, like the pearls themselves, are the accidental 
prizes of the divers. The regular article of traffic is the shell 
itself, which the traders buy from the natives at an average of £15 
per ton, and sell in London at an average of over £100. They 


calculate that by hiring divers and working the beds themselves, 
the shell can be raised at less than £6 per ton. In former years 
the annual harvest of Pauniotu pearl-shell was immensely in excess 
of the present supply, which is said not to average above 200 tons 
— the natural result of allowing the beds no time to recruit. 
Doubtless there are vast beds untouched, at lower levels, where 
the divers do not care to venture ; and it is supposed that the 
outer face of the barrier-reef is probably one vast oyster-bed, but 
the bravest divers dare not venture to attempt work beneath the 
awful breakers. 

Certain it is, that the colonies in the lagoons are annually re- 
plenished by myriads of infant pearl-oysters, which have been 
spawned in the deep sea, and which, in the months of December 
and March, may be seen floating in with the rising tide; tiny 
glittering shells, a quarter or a half inch in diameter, like fairy 
coins. Once in those calm waters, the young oysters apparently 
have no wish again to seek the stormy outer seas, for they are 
never seen floating out with the retiring tide. It takes seven 
years for an oyster to attain maturity, so only those which settle 
in deep water have a chance of reaching a ripe age. 

Strange to say, these creatures, which appear to be so immovably 
attached to their coral-rock, are proved to be migratory. K"ot only 
do the closely packed young oysters detach their silken cables and 
move off in search of more roomy quarters, but even the heavy 
grown-up shells sometimes travel from one shelf in the coral to 
another, probably in search of better feeding-grounds. They are 
singularly capricious in the selection of their homes ; in one lagoon 
they are abundant, and perhaps in the very next not an oyster is 
to be found : and no attempt to raise artificial beds, even by trans- 
porting masses of rock covered with young shells, has ever succeed- 
ed, although the surroundings are apparently identical in every 
respect. Of course they will not settle anywhere near sand, which, 
by any disturbing cause, might enter their shells, and cause them 
as much inconvenience as do the innumerable tiny red crabs, — 
uninvited guests, which take up their quarters in the oyster-shells, 
to the great aggravation of the helpless OAvners. 


The lagoons in which these fisheries are carried on are inde- 
scribably lovely : marine gardens, in which every detail of beauty 
is enhanced by being seen through the clearest crystal waters, 
which lend a glamour as of a magic glass to everything seen 
through them, whether sea-weed or shell, zoophyte or coral, gliding 
snake or rainbow-coloured fish. Here and there are patches of 
pure white coral-sand, which serve to reveal the exquisite colour of 
the aqua-marine water ; while the golden sea-weeds appear purple, 
and the corals seem to vary in hue, according to the depth at 
which they lie beneath the surface. It is all illusion, for the 
flowers of the sea are always disappointing when gathered. But 
there on the coral-ledges lie the great oysters and many other shells, 
including the huge clam, which is accounted excellent food. The 
pearl-oyster is only eaten in times of scarcity, as it is very coarse 
and unpalatable, though not unwholesome. 

Diving for clams generally falls to the share of the women ; and 
many a one has met her doom from getting nipped by the ponder- 
ous dentated shell, and so held prisoner in the depths, never to 
rise again. I heard several horrible stories on this subject in Fiji, 
and here new ones are added to the list. Quite recently a poor 
fellow fishing on one of the Paumotu atolls dived to the bottom of 
the lagoon, feeling for pearl-oysters, when he unluckily slipped the 
fingers of his left hand into a gaping clam-shell, which instantly 
closed and held him as if in a vice. The shell lay in a hole in the 
coral, so that it was impossible to reach the byssus by which it 
was moored in that safe harbour ; the wretched man, in agony of 
mind and of body, severed his own fingers with his knife, and 
rose to the surface, having indeed escaped drowning, but being 
maimed for life. There have been other cases Avhen a diver, thus 
imprisoned, has with greater deliberation contrived to insert his 
knife into the shell, and so force it open sufficiently to release his 
other hand. 

In gathering clams, the aim of the diver is to stab the gaping 
moUusc with a sharp-pointed stake, and then with his knife cut 
the silky filaments by which it adheres to the rock, after which he 
slips both hands below the huge shell, and endeavours to raise it ; 


— no easy matter, considering what ponderous monsters many of 
the clams are — a single shell making an admirable bath for a child, 
pure as white marble, and highly polished by nature. In many 
Roman Catholic churches these large shells are used for holy water. 
The smaller clams, such as are generally used for food, are often 
picked up on the reef in basket-loads ; and many a careless child 
has playfully thrust its little fingers into a gaping shell, an invasion 
promptly resented by the owner. Happily the scream of agony 
generally brings some friends to the rescue : and strong as is the 
armour of the poor besieged clam, it offers one weak point to the 
enemy — namely, the cavity through which the byssus passes; a 
skilful stab through this aperture causes the inmate to relax its 
hold, and so the child is released — but many a finger is lost in tliis 
manner. The multitude of these shell-fish annually consumed on 
all the isles is something incredible, and the supply is apparently 
inexhaustible. It is not generally known that these shells also 
occasionally yield very valuable and lustrous pearls of peculiar 

But the treasury of the sea, which lies safe beyond the reach of 
covetous human beings, is that clean coral-sand which glimmers 
far below the coral-caves where the oysters congregate, and to 
which, for untold ages, have dropped the pearls which fell from the 
gaping shell, when the seven-year-old oyster, having lived his 
appointed time, melted away in his native brine, and let go the 
treasures he could no longer clasp. "What a dream of delight, even 
in fancy, to gather up those 

" Pale glistening pearls and rainbow-coloured shells, 
Bright things that gleam uurecked of and in vain " ! 

I suppose the water-babies of these seas look upon pearls as we 
used to look on John o' Groats — probably with less reverence, as 
being so much more common ; and perhaps they are right, for the 
one was only a disease, and the other a wondrously contrived little 

One valuable creature which loves the white coral - sand as 
cordially as the pearl-oyster dreads it, is the black heche-de-vujr,^ a 
' Ilolothuroides. Chinese name, Tripanci. 

2G4 A lady's cruise. 

very important item in tlie harvest of these seas, and one which 
affords a living to a multitude of white men and hrown. There 
are four different sorts, of which the black is the largest. It 
resembles a gigantic leech, and grows to a length of about thirty 
inches. It is a gregarious animal, and is found in companies of 
brother-slugs wherever the water is clearest and most perfect peace 
prevails. It is supposed to be blind, and its movements arc so 
slow as to be imperceptible. It has a red cousin, which seems to 
enjoy tunndt and noise as much as the black kind loves calm. Its 
favourite home is on the outer edge of the coral-reef, where the 
7nighty breakers are for ever raging. 

The heche-de-mpr fishers have on the whole rather a pleasant sort 
of gipsy life. Having chartered a small vessel, they engage a set 
of natives, both men and women, to work with them for so many 
moons ; and as it is just the sort of occupation which comes natural 
to these men, they generally have a cheery time of it. They an- 
chor at some favourable spot, probably a desert island, and build 
a cluster of palm-leaf huts for themselves, another in which to 
smoke, and so cure the fish and slugs, and to act as storehouse. 
However rude may be their own shelter, the fish-houses must be 
made water-tight, lest the heavy rains should beat through, and 
destroy the precious store. 

The men carry with them a store of yams and cocoa-nuts, and 
trust to their luck for a daily fish supply, which rarely, if ever, 
fails, and has the charm of considerable variety, including most of 
the finny tribes, turtles and their eggs, clams, cockles, and other 
Bhell-fish — occasionally sea-birds' eggs are added to the feast. 
Whatever is caught is supposed to go to be handed over to the 
native overseer for equal division, that none may hunger. So 
when the day's work is done, a delicious bathe is followed by a 
cheery supper, and then the men lie round Ijright wood-fires, in- 
dulging in never - ending talk or songs, or else dancing quaint 
savage mi'Ms in the moonlight. 

Every morning they start at early dawn armed with long aaiany- 
pronged forks, to collect the treasures brought in by the tide. If 
the sea is calm they go to the outer edge of the reef, in search of 


the red heclie-dc-mer, which love the sea-foam ; but when the surf 
comes thundering in Avith mad violence, then the fishers have a 
quiet day with the black slugs ; for these they must dive perhaps 
to a depth of twelve fathoms. 

As I once before mentioned to you, these creatures eject a fluid 
whicli blisters the skin most painfully ; so instead of carrying 
them in a basket, it is customary for the fisher to have a miniature 
canoe which he can drag over the reef by means of a rope, or float 
on the calm lagoon, should he have occasion to dive ; into this 
canoe he throws all treasure-trove, and when it is full, empties it 
into one of the larger boats. N'oonday is the most favourable 
hour for the diver, as the sun's vertical rays then most clearly 
illumine the submarine depths Avhere he seeks his game. 

"When a fair supply has been secured, the fishers return to the 
settlement. Sometimes they busy themselves on the way by 
cleaning the slugs, which is done by cutting them open with a 
sharp knife, so as to let the dangerous blistering fluid and intes- 
tines fall into the sea. But the more cautious men defer this pro- 
cess till they reach the shore, when they pop the live animals into 
a boiling caldron, and therein stir them diligently for some minutes, 
after which they can clean them with greater safety to themselves. 
They are then transferred to another caldron and stewed for half 
an hour, after which they are taken to the drying-house, whence 
they reappear like bits of dry leather, and require to be soaked for 
several days previous to use. 

It is necessary to cook the Holothuria as quickly as possil)le, 
because so soon as they are dead they become a gelatinous mass 
like treacle, with a very bad smell, and all adhere together, so that 
no use can be made of them. So if caldrons are lacking, native 
ovens are at once prepared : a hole is dug in the earth, and a fire 
kindled, whereby stones are thoroughly heated, and on these the 
slugs are laid, and covered with green leaves and old matting, and 
earth over all. Thus they are steamed for an hour, till they are dried 
lip and shrivelled, after which each is stretched open with little 
bits of stick, and laid on the drying stages in the smoking-house, 
over a fire of green wood, which produces a dense smoke. This 

26G A lady's cruise. 

must be kept up for three da^-s, after which tliis leathery and un 
inviting delicacy is packed in palm - leaf baskets ready for the 
China market. But it must from time to time be spread in the 
scorching sun to dry it more thoroughly, as any lingering moisture 
will inevitably reveal itself on the long journey, and the produce 
of many a month's hard labour has thus been rendered worthless. 

I do not think that Mche-de-mer soup ever finds much favour 
with Europeans, but I have eaten it myself with much satisfaction, 
which is far more than I can say for turtle in any form, as pre- 
pared in the Pacific. Turtle-steaks sound well, but I cannot say 
they are nice. I think they are generally cut from turtle which 
have been roasted whole in native ovens. I believe the scientific 
cook invariably lays the turtle on its back, that the precious green 
fat and oil may not be lost; and the prudent housekeeper pre- 
serves the surplus of a feast-day, by cutting up slices of turtle- 
steak, which she stores in cocoa-nut shells, pouring in liquid fat, 
and tying a heated banana-leaf over the shell, in lieu of hermet- 
ically sealing these potted meats. As a good large turtle weighs 
fully 400 lb. (and some are occasionally captured weighing from 
600 to 700 lb.), you can understand that a chief may very well 
allow himself to store up a portion for the morrow, without de- 
priving his followers of their fair share. 

But if turtle-meat is unpleasant, stUl more so, to my uneducated 
taste, are turtle - eggs, several hundred of which are sometimes 
found inside a large mother turtle. But they are generally dis- 
covered carefully buried in the sand well above high-water mark. 
They are quite round and leathery, resembling small white tennis- 
balls. In the breeding season, the female turtle leaves her mate 
beyond the barrier-reef, and she comes ashore, alone, at high tide, 
generally selecting the full moon. Having chosen a suital)le spot 
for her nest, she scratches a large hole in the sand, in the middle 
of which she digs a funnel, two or three feet in depth, and therein 
proceeds to lay about a hundred eggs, after which she carefully 
covers them over with sand, and smooths away all trace of her 
visit. Then she returns to the reef and there waits for the next 
high tide, when she rejoins her mate. For some reason best 


known to herself, she generally returns ashore either on the ninth 
or eighteenth night — a fact -well known to the natives, who scan 
the beach eagerly for the broad track left on the smooth white 
sand by this midnight visitor. 

Wlien poor Mrs Turtle becomes aware of the presence of her 
natural foe, man, she generally tries to hide, and will lie motion- 
less for hours ; but should this hope prove vain, she makes for the 
sea at railway speed, her flippers acting as paddles, by which she 
jerks herself along. Should her foe outstrip her in the race, he 
contrives to turn her over, when she lies on her back more help- 
less than even a fat sheep in the like predicament. 

I daresay that to all of you, in England, the accounts of these 
South Sea groups sound so much alike, that you can scarcely 
sympathise with my repining over the omission of a few. But 
each has its own distinctive peculiarities, which you only realise 
by living in it for a while, and making friends with its inhabitants. 

Therefore I fear that these " lines left out " will remain to me a 
lifelong regret. They have all the pain that attaches to "truth 
seen too late," which is the crown of woe. 

I only hope that you will profit by my sad experience, and that 
should you ever have a chance of seeing the Marquesas and the 
Paumotus, you will not let it slip. But such luck as visiting a 
French colony in a French man - of - war does not often present 
itself ! 



L.\ JIaison Brandere, Papeete, 

iVediiesikiy, 21st. 

Already ten days have slipped away since we watched the 
Maramma sail for Honolulu, and each morning I awake with a 
feeling of pleasure that I am still in this delightful isle. "Would 

2G8 A lady's cruise. 

tliat you could look on the lovely scene on which my eyes rest 
■with the first glimmer of dawn, and which now lies outspread 
before me, as I sit in this cool verandah opening off my large 
bedroom on the upper storey ! It is a verandah all closed in with 
jalousies, screening its occupants from the outside world ; while 
they, themselves unseen, look down on the brightest, most ani- 
mated scene you can imagine. 

Long before sunrise the pretty native boats, with double sails, 
arrive from all parts of the isle, bringing their cargo of fish and 
fruit for the market, which is held in a large building in the town. 
But as the boats are unloaded, their wares are outspread on the 
grass just below these windows, and the most active housewives 
and purveyors for the ships come here to secure the first choice of 
luscious fruits and of fishes, as beautiful to the eye as they are 
tempting to the palate. These are of every shade of blue and 
green, scarlet and crimson, and pale yellow with lilac stripes. The 
large bright-green fish are generally eaten raw ; and occasionally the 
purchasers, whose appetites are sharpened by the fresh morning air, 
cannot resist an early breakfast al fresco. The air is balmy and 
delicious, like a heavenly midsummer morning in Europe ; and all 
the girls have light woollen shaAvls. (Real Scotch tartans are in 
high favour, and are worn in true Highland fashion, over one 
shoulder and round the body.) 

The fruit-supply is brought in large baskets. Just now there 
are quantities of mangoes, oranges, and Abercarder pears {des 
avocats they are called here, where French permeates all things, 
as it did in England when the Norman conquerors changed Saxon 
oxen, sheep, and hens, to beef, mutton, and fowls). But these 
minor fruits are trifling luxuries. The mainstay of life is the 
faees or wild banana, which here takes the place of the yams and 
taro of the groujis further west. 

I think I have already described this peculiar plant, which bears 
its enormous bunch of fruit growing upright from the centre of its 
crown of large leaves, instead of drooping below them, as is the 
manner of all other bananas and plantains. These clusters vary 
from two to four feet in length ; and I constantly see a bunch so 


long and so heavy, that it is carried to market slung from a pule, 
resting on the shoulders of two men, just as in the old pictures of 
the Israelitish spies bearing the gj'apes of Eshcol, which were the 
delight of our childhood. It must be toilsome work to carry these 
Aveighty spoils of the mountains from tlie remote ravines where 
they chiefly flourish. 

All these heaps of golden fruit form a brilliant foreground to the 
beautiful harbour beyond, which at this early hour reflects only the 
pale, glowing daffodil hues of a cloudless sky, against which the 
exquisite outline of Moorea stands out in clear relief. Suddenly 
its delicate pearly grey is flushed with rose colour, as the first ray 
of the rising sun touches those lofty summits, and veinings of 
tender blue mark the course of deep glens and corries, or the 
shadows cast by prominent crags and pinnacles, 

Nearer — so near, indeed, that we can distinguish friendly faces 
on the decks — lie the French men-of-war ; and as the light touches 
them, their dead white changes to cream colour, and they and their 
unfurled sails, and the clothes hung out to dry, are all reflected in 
the calm water. So, too, are the various trading-ships, and the 
great hulk of a large iron vessel, which caught fire fifteen months 
ago when she was near the Marquesas. Her crew took to their 
boats, and two of these arrived here safely. A good while after, 
the deserted ship, still burning, drifted doAvn towards here. The 
Seignelay went out and towed in the wreck. She had been laden 
with coal, and this had run into a sort of semi-fluid, tarry condi- 
tion, and to this hour it is still smouldering ; and after a shower of 
rain, steam and smoke still rise from the poor old hulk, which is so 
red from rust that you would think she had been painted vermilion. 
It is a vexed question whether she can ever be turned to account, or 
whether she should not be towed outside the reef, and there sunk.^ 

Just beyond the shipping, inside the harbour, is a small island 
fortified by the French, The incongruity of ramparts and guns is 
hidden by foliage of hybiscus and palms ; and it forms one item in 
the beauty of the scene. 

1 The question was deciileil in Iicr favour. She has been refitted and renan;ed 
and now sails the Pacific as the Annie Johnson. 

270 A lady's cruise. 

This is the view from the front of the Eed House. The back 
windows look over green mango-trees, and past the spire of the 
Eoman Catholic church, to tlie great purply mountains of the 
interior. So you see that, although this big si^uare three-storeyed 
house of very red brick, encased in closed verandahs, is not in 
itself an ornamental building, its surroundings are very lovely. 
And of the kindliness that reigns within it, words fail me to tell. 
It is an atmosphere of genial cordiality, in which each guest is at 
once made to feel as welcome, and as thoroughly at home, as any 
member of the largo family. It is a kindness as unconscious, but 
as real and as delightful, as the balmy air we breathe, and is as 
purely Tahitian. What would these warm-hearted open-handed 
people think of the measured cold reception of strangers in our 
grey' British isles 1 

To begin with, I discovered, on arriving here, that Mrs Brander 
had actually given me her own charming suite of rooms, to secure 
my having the fullest enjoyment of the lovely view and of the 
cool verandahs ; so that I virtually am in solitary possession of this 
whole flat, with its large handsome drawing-room and cosy boudoir. 
I compare myself to one of the hermit-crabs which curl themselves 
into desirable shells, to the exclusion of the rightful owners ! But 
my most hospitable hostess will not allow tliat she suffers any in- 
convenience ; though she and her children have moved downstairs to 
share one huge room with any number of friends and relations, who 
spread their soft mattresses and pillows, and very gay quilts, and 
make themselves cosy for the night, just as the fancy takes them. 
The fine old mother has a house near, but very often she and the 
pretty sisters prefer to sleep here : so do sundry cousins and friends. 
There are also a number of Tahitian women of good birth who find 
a home, almost by right, in the house of every high chief, and who 
in return do him, or her, such light service as may be required. But 
of actual servants, as we understand the word, there are none. 

I find an element of great comfort in the presence of an English 
woman who acts as housekeeper — a most unexpected discovery in 
Tahiti ! She brings my early breakfast of tea and fruit, and other- 
wise takes creat care of me. 


We have a regular European breakfast and dinner, at which, 
however, only my hostess and her big brothers, with the Belgian 
manager and a few French officers, generally appear. The others 
prefer eating a rindigene, sitting on their mats in another room, 
or beneath the shady trees ; in fact, the native element is pretty 
strong, which gives this house half its interest. All the connec- 
tions of the royal family, and a number of pretty demi-hlanche 
girls, dressed in flowing sacques, are continually coming and going; 
and once a-week Mrs Brander has a reception for all the young 
folk, and for as many French officers as like to come ; and they all 
dance and make merry, — rather more so, I think, than at the 
admiral's AVednesday receptions at Government House, which are, 
nevertheless, very enjoyable. 

I had heard the praises of my hostess sung in no measured 
terms by all the members of the mission, both French and English, 
as well as by our consul and his family ; but only since I have 
lived under her roof have I realised what a very exceptional 
woman she is. To the affectionate kindliness of a genuine 
Tahitian, she adds the Anglo-Jewish strength of character and 
business capacity inherited from her father; and the combination 
is one wliich would be truly remarkable in any woman, but is 
doubly so in one of the gentle daughters of the South Seas. The 
born chiefess is revealed in her large-hearted generosity to every 
creature that comes within her reach ; though her extreme un- 
selfishness makes her shrink from any expenditure that seems to 
tend only to her own comfort. She appears to be always thinking 
what she can do for other people — rich or poor, in all parts of the 
group. She has estates scattered all over these isles, and conducts 
all their business herself, as well as attending to everything con- 
nected with the great mercantile house created by her late hus- 
band. Though she has many assistants, she is emphatically its 
head, and not the smallest detail can be carried out without her 
sanction. Every business transaction, whether with the French 
Government, or foreign vessels requiring supplies, or her own 
trading ships, passes through her hands. Everything is done by 
her special order, and every business papcir has to receive her 

272 A lady's cruise. 

signature. But she never seems to forget anything or any one ; 
and, moreover, has time to prove herself a most devoted mother to 
her nine children — of whom one is married in Valparaiso, another 
here, some of the sous are at school in Scotland, and the bahy 
daughters are the pets and darlings of this house. 

^Irs Brander owns a lleet of about twenty smart trading 
schooners, which run backwards and forwards between Tahiti 
and such points as San Francisco, Valparaiso, and !New Zealand, 
carrying the cargoes of all sorts collected by other vessels (of the 
same fleet) in tlu3 surrounding isles and the neighbouring groups. 

These cargoes consist chiefly of co2)pra — that is, dried cocoa- 
nut kernel, broken into little bits for convenience of stowage on 
the far joui'ney to England or other lands, where it is subjected to 
such heavy pressure as extracts the oil, leaving a residue of oil- 
cake for the fattening of British beeves. For the gourmet of 
China, quantities of edible fungus and dried heche-de-mer are sent 
to San Francisco, whence they are passed on to Hong-Kong. 
Tons of large pearl-shells, measuring about eight inches across, 
with beautifully iridescent lining, go to make buttons and such 
articles, in all parts of the world ; true pearls of considerable value 
are occasionally found in these, and a large number of average size. 
Of the fruits of the isles, oranges form the largest export, but 
vanilla, coff"ee, and various other products swell the list. At one 
time cotton was a good article of export, but it appears to have 
fallen into disfavour. 

The vessels retui'n from their several destinations laden with 
every conceivable variety of goods. There is nothing that luxury 
can desire which does not lind its way to these remote isles, from 
the newest scent to the finest dress materials — not even excepting 
silks and velvets, though for whose benefit these are imported, 
passes my comprehension. 

Truly wonderful is that compendium of all things needfid, 
known as " a store," ami that of La Maison Brandere is the 
largest iu Papeete. Like " the merchant " of a Scotch village, 
magnified a thousandfold, the owner of a South Sea store must 
be ready to supply all the most incongruous demands which his 


customers can possibly invent, from white satin shoes to ship 
anchors. For he has not only to provide for the island population, 
but must be ready to supply any ships that hapj^en to come into 
harbour with whatever they require. Fresh meats and preserved 
meats, 'New Zealand beef, Australian mutton, condensed milk and 
tinned butter, Californian " canned " vegetables and fruits, candles 
and lamps, oils of various kinds, firearms and gunpowder, hair-oil 
and brushes, wines and spirits, letter-paper and ledgers, books and 
framed pictures, cutlery of all sorts — from a penknife to a cutlass, 
or from a hair-pin to a harpoon — wine-glasses and tumblers, neck- 
laces and brooches, crockery and physic : these, and a thousand 
other items, are all on hand, and appear at a moment's notice. 

And as the store is the centre of all business, it is a general 
rendezvous ; in fact, a sort of club, where pleasant cooling drinks 
are not unknown, and where much amusing gossip may be heard, 
for that is an article not unknown even in Tahiti ! 

Provisioning large vessels for long voyages is no easy matter 
here, where all animals have to be imported, as these beautiful 
hills and valleys afford very poor pasture-land, being all overrun 
with guava scrub. So shiploads of cattle are despatched from the 
Sandwich Isles, at very irregular intervals, by sailing ships, which 
sometimes are detained so long by contrary winds and calms, that 
the poor beasts are almost starved. The sheep are equally lean ; 
and in fact, pork and fowls are about the only satisfactory meat- 

Thursday, 22d Nov. 

It is hard to think of you all, enduring the miseries of chill 
November, while we are revelling day after day, and night after 
night, in an atmosphere of balmy delight and clear blue heavens. 
Last night we all went to the admiral's big reception, au Gouverne- 
vient, and a very gay scene it was, so many pretty women in very 
fresh, simple muslin sacques — only a few French ladies adhering 
to Parisian fashions. The ball-room has an excellent inlaid floor; 
and as the music is most enlivening, and the French naval officers 
enjoy dancing quite as much as any of the girls, they kept it up 


274 A lady's cruise. 

with great spirit. Of course the gardens are a very great attrac- 
tion, and to the non-dancers are the favourite lounge. Good 
music, pleasant company, warm delicious nights, redolent of fra- 
grant flowers — what more could you desire 1 Sometimes, Avhen the 
band stops playing, we go for a moonlight row in the harbour, as 
far as the entrance through the barrier-reef, just for the pleasure of 
watching the breakers, and hearing their deafening roar. 

This morning, soon after sunrise. M. Viennot called for me in 
his carriage, and drove me to Papawa, where he has built himself a 
tiny house, near a lovely bathing-place. We found all the mission 
families already assembled, with a few other friends, including M. 
Pui'ch, commanding Le Limier, a French man-of-war. He at once 
set his sailors to catch fish for our picnic ; and after a preliminary 
luncheon, we all scattered, to bathe, or stroll, as the case might be. 

I went off with a party of half-a-dozen handsome girls, of 
English and Tahitian birth, descendants of the early missionaries, 
whose children settled in the group, and married half -whites. 
They led the way to a delicious stream, narrow, and deep, and 
clear, and very still, edged with tall bulrushes. They supplied 
me with a bathing-dress like their own — namely, a jMfeo of crim- 
son, or scarlet-and-white calico, which they wore very gracefully 
draped from the neck. They wove great wreaths of green fern to 
protect their heads from the sun, and, of course, did not neglect 
me in the distribution. I thought they formed a most picturesque 

The stream was so inviting that we determined to follow it up 
for some distance. But the water, which at first only came to 
my shoulders, grew deeper and deeper, tiU I could not feel the 
ground, and I had to confess my inability to swim. So then these 
charming naiads clustered round me, and floated me smoothly 
along, as they swam a good half-mile to the upper stream. It 
was quite charming. Then they floated me back again, and by 
the time we rejoined the rest of the party, the sailors had caught 
a great supply of excellent little fish of many sorts, and we had a 
most merry feast, after which Commandant Pu^ch brought me 
home in his boat; and now I confess to being so tired, that I am 


going to "bed, notwithstanding the attraction of a pleasant moon- 
light expedition in the admiral's big barge. 

Friday, 23d. 

The Seignelay returned to-day from the Marquesas and the 
Paumotu group. She has had a most delightful fortnight's cruise, 
and my kind friends on board add to my poignant repentance for 
having refused to accompany them, by their regrets that I should 
have missed so excellent an opportunity. They had perfect 
weather. The voyage going and coming occupied just a week, 
during which they passed through the Paumotus. The other 
week was spent at different islands in the Marquesas, and they 
say that much of the scenery is like the island of Moorea, but 
greatly glorified. Now, as Moorea is the most unique and beauti- 
ful isle I have ever seen, you can imagine how grievous it is to 
think I should so stupidly have missed seeing one still more 
strange and lovely. 

They also declare that the people are by far the finest race, and 
the most uncivilised savages, they have ever seen anywhere. They 
declare that many are still cannibal, and that all are tattooed all 
over the face and body, while many of the men are clothed only 
in a kilt of human hair. I think it possible that had they inspected 
this garment more closely, they might have discovered it to be 
made of the Ehizomorpha fibre — a glossy black parasitic weed, 
which is found in the forests, clinging to old trees by means of 
tiny suckers. It resembles coarse horse-hair, and in Fiji it is 
greatly valued as a kilt by warriors and dancers. So perhaps in 
this respect the Marquesans may not differ from our familiar 
Fijians. But there is no doubt that they are still in that very 
early stage of civilisation, which is most interesting to the traveller, 
before all distinctive angles have been rounded off — a process 
which, when once commenced, progresses with startling rapidity, 
to the total extinction of all individuality. 

Here in Tahiti, for instance, scarcely a trace remains of the 
aboriginal manners and customs, and it is impossible for the most 
vivid imagination to conjure up any sort of suggestion of Captain 

27G A lady's cruise. 

Cook's Otaheiti. !Not a trace of tattooing is now to be seen, 
though in olden daj's it was practised by almost all Tahitians, 
both men and women, simply as a personal adornment. Happily 
they seldom disfigured their faces, but the women tattooed their 
feet, up to the ankles, and marked bracelets on their arms and 
wrists. The men sometimes covered the whole body with intricate 
patterns, often gracefully drawn, as when a cocoa-nut palm was 
designed on the leg, or a bread-fruit tree, with twining vines, on 
the chest, Fishes and birds, flowers and fruits, spears and clubs, 
were favourite subjects ; and sometimes a battle-piece, or the offer- 
ing of sacrifice at the marae, were thus indelibly marked. In the 
character of subjects selected, the tattooing of Tahiti seems to have 
been nearer akin to that of Japan than of any other nation, though 
in this respect, as in all others, the Japanese lend to their work an 
artistic beauty of their own. 

In all other groups, the patterns selected were generally stars 
or lines. By far the most elaborate designs are those of !N"ew 
Zealand and the Marquesas ; but the former invariably adhere to 
curved lines or concentric circles, covering the whole face, while 
the latter make broad straight lines all over the body, with occa- 
sional designs of animals. 

The only Marquesan whom I have seen here is most elaborately 
tattooed from head to foot, and I am told he is a fair type of his 
countrymen. All the Maoris whom we saw in Xew Zealand were 
so fully clothed, that I can only testify to the very finely marked 
intricate circles on the faces of the men, and the hideous blue lips 
of the women. In Samoa the men are so marked as apparently to 
be clothed in dark-blue-silk knee-breeches. In Tonga only the 
men were tattooed, the women never were. In Fiji, on the other 
hand, men were never tattooed ; but, for women, a certain small 
amount was a compulsory religious act. 

In all these countries so many idolatrous ceremonies were con- 
nected with the process, that it was invariably prohibited so soon 
as the people professed Christianity. In Japan, where it has 
hitherto been so practised as to be a really beautiful art, it has 
been declared illegal by the same police regulations which, greatly 


to the discomfort of the people, insist on every man being dressed 
from head to foot. But throughout the Christianised isles, includ- 
ing Tahiti, the prohibition was on the score of idolatry, and a law- 
was passed, affixing a graduated scale of penalty for repeated 
offences ; a man was condemned to make so many fathoms of road 
or of stone-work, and a woman to make so many mats, or so many 
fathoms of native cloth, for the use of the king and of the gover- 
nor. !N^evertheless, the desire to embellish nature was so great, 
that many were content to work out the penalty rather than forego 
the adornment. 

There never was a better illustration of the old proverb, " II faut 
souffrir pour etre belle ; " for it was necessarily a painful process, 
followed by swelling and inflammation, which often lasted for a 
considerable time, and sometimes even proved fatal. The process 
was simple : the victim of vanity was made to lie flat on the 
ground, while the artist sketched his design Avith charcoal on the 
skin, which was then punctured by little bundles of needles, made 
of the bones of birds or fishes, though human bones were preferred. 
Some were so arranged as to resemble the teeth of a saw, and were 
used in producing straight lines. Others had but one fine point 
for giving delicate finishing touches, and for working on such 
sensitive spots as could not endure the sharper pain. The needles 
having previously been dipped in a black dye, made from the 
kernel of the candle-nut, reduced to charcoal and mixed with oil, 
were struck sharply with a small hammer, thus puncturing the 
skin, carrying with them the dye, which, seen through the trans- 
parent and very silky skin, had the effect of being blue. 

The custom of tattooing was certainly widespread. Herodotus 
has recorded its existence even among the Thracians, of whom he 
remarked that the " barbarians could be exceedingly foppish after 
their fashion. The man who was not tattooed amongst them was 
not respected." If tattooing was in fashion so near Phoenicia, who 
knows but that those roving traders may have been the first to 
suggest to our fair-skinned forefathers the attractions of blue woad 
as high art decoration 1 

Not only have such practices as tattooing died out in Tahiti, 

278 A lady's cruise, 

but even the distinctive games of the people have apparently been 
forgotton, — at least I have seen none played. Yet in olden times 
there were many national sports ; as, for instance, one "which ex- 
actly answered to golf, and was played with sticks, slightly curved 
at one end-, -and a hard ball made of strips of native cloth. Foot- 
ball w^s formerly as popular in Tahiti as in Britain or Japan, the 
ball used being a largo roll of the stalks of banana-leaves, firmly 
twisted together. The players were often women, twenty or thirty 
on each side ; and in the scramble to seize the ball, there was as 
much rough sport as in any English public school. As the games 
were generally played on the beach, the ball was often thrown into 
the sea, and followed by the merry crowd with shouts and ringing 

Boxing also found favour with the lower orders ; and wrestling 
and archery were as highly esteemed in Tahiti as in Japan, and, 
moreover, were equally associated with religious festivals, which 
probably is the reason of their having fallen into disuse. The 
dresses worn by the archers, with their bows and arrows, were all 
considered sacred, and certain persons were appointed to keep 
them. Before the contest began, the archers went to the marae 
to perform certain rehgious ceremonies; and at the end of the 
game, they returned thither to change their dress, bathe, and re- 
store their bow and arrows to their appointed keeper, before they 
could venture to eat, or to enter their own homes. The bows in 
us& were about five feet in length ; the arrows about three feet, 
and the distance to which they would fly was often about 300 
yards. They were never used in war, nor for shooting at a mark, 
as in Fiji 

Spear- thro wing and slinging stones were games in which a target 
was always set up, and generally hit with precision; but these 
were exercises of war, in which the players had abundant practice. 
The sUngers generally formed the advance - guard in battle, and 
often did much execution. The stones selected were about the 
size of a hen's egg. The slings were made of finely braided cocoa- 
nut husk, or filaments of native flax, with a loop at one end for the 
hand, and at the other a place for the stone. Li throwing, the 


sling was stretched across the back, whirled round the head, and 
thus the missile was discharged Avith great force. 

But the game which always excited the keenest interest was 
wrestling. Here, as in Japan, the announcement of a wrestling- 
match brought together thousands both of men and women, all in 
their holiday garbs. The wrestlers, like the archers, first repaired 
to the marae to do homage to the gods ; then entering the ring, 
which was generally on some grassy spot near the sea-shore, they 
fell to work in good earnest. Sometimes the wrestlers of one 
island challenged those of another ; or else the challenge was from 
men of different districts. Their dress consisted only of a waist- 
cloth, and a coating of fresh oil. The moment a man was thrown, 
the friends of the conqueror commenced to dance and sing trium- 
phantly with an accompaniment of drums ; and as the vanquished 
party raised songs of defiance, the din must have been pretty 
considerable. However, it subsided the moment fresh wrestlers 
entered the ring, and the spectators watched the progress of the 
struggle in dead silence and with intense interest. "Wlien the 
contest was over, the wrestlers returned to the marae to present 
their offerings to the protecting gods. 

Without looking back to classical times and Greek games, it 
seems strange, does it not, that these very uncivilised savages of 
the South Seas should have assigned to wrestling precisely the 
same religious importance as is bestowed on it by the Shintoists 
of Japan. Possibly both nations retained this sacred game as 
practised by their common Malay ancestors,^ from whom, probably, 
both derived their custom^ of offering savoury meats, and making 
acts of homage to their deceased relations ; though the Japanese, 
either from inborn refinement or Chinese influence, place on their 
domestic shrine only the tablets of the dead ; whereas the Ta- 

1 I do not by this mean to suggest any trace of a common origin, merely founded 
on ancestor-worship, which prevailed in almost all countries, and which in the 
Pacific is to this day practised by the Papuan races. The islanders of the Torres 
Straits, in common with those of tho Line islands, worship the skulls of their 
ancestors, and treasure them in their huts as reverently as did the Tahitians in 
heathen days. 

■■' For a trace of this custom, as practised in the Marquesas, see p. 257. 


liitian preserved the ancestral skulls liiddeii in the roof of his 

The perch for fowls,^ so familiar in the neighbourhood of all 
Shinto temples in Japan, had its counterpart in the homes of the 
Tahitian chiefs ; though the foAvls here do not appear to have been 
consecrated to the gods, but trained for fighting. The native 
legends assert that cock-fighting was the most ancient native game, 
and the birds were reared and tended with the utmost care. No 
artificial spurs were used, and the belligerents were separated be- 
fore either was injured. The fights came off at break of day, that 
the bii'ds might be perfectly cool ; and large crowds assembled to 
Avitness the contests, which sometimes were carried on for several 
mornings consecutively. 

In tracing all manner of kindred customs in the isles of the 
North and South Pacific, I observe, amongst minor points, how 
very Avidespread is the passion for shampooing, — a friendly office 
which every old woman in the South Seas seems as ready to per- 
form for the wearied wayfarer as is the professional blind man 
of Japan ; involving an amount of manipulation which I should 
suppose to be truly odious, but to which many foreigners take 
kindly, and which seems to find favour in all Asiatic countries. 

I take an especial interest in all such links as seem to connect 
these isles with Japan, because I have a pet theory of my own, 
that all these fair Polynesian islanders have drifted here by a 
circuitous route via the North Pacific. The commonly accepted 
notion is, that all the groups in the East Pacific have been peopled 
by Malays, who found their way here by a directly eastward 
migration. It is difficult, however, to imagine why they should 
have come so far, when, in coming from that direction, Australia 
and New Guinea lay so much nearer to them. 

If you open the map of the world and rule a transverse line, 
passing through the Sandwich Islands in the North Pacific and 
the Friendly Isles in the South, you will perceive that the groups 
lying to the east are the Navigators, Fiji, the Hervey Isles, Tahiti, 
the Paumotu, the Marquesan, the Austral Isles, and New Zealand, 
1 Wlience has developed the Torii. 


every one of which is peopled by comparatively fair-skinned races, 
with hair which by nature is straight and black, although in many 
of the isles, as in Samoa, custom requires that it should be dyed or 
bleached, cut short and stiffened, so as to produce the effect of a 
wig. I am not sure if the spiral curls of the yellow-haired Ton- 
gans and Fijians are artificially produced, because I have never 
seen one individual of either race whose hair had not been dyed 
with coral-lime ; but I know that a Samoan girl who refrains from 
" improving " nature, finds herself possessed of fine black tresses, 
as silky and as beautiful as those of any Italian maiden. 

To the west of our line lies Melanesia, comprising the Marshall 
Isles, the Carolines, Solomon Isles, [New Guinea, New Britain, 
Xew Hebrides, Xew Caledonia, and Australia. These, almost 
without exception, are peopled by dark-skinned races, repulsive in 
their ugliness, and with hair more or less woolly. 

All these lie between Eastern Polynesia and the Malay country, 
and there seems no reason whatever to account for those hardy 
little warriors passing by so many fertile isles, in search of the 
unknown region to the east. Surely it is more probable that, 
having first overrun Formosa, and then peopled Japan, they thence 
sailed to the Sandwich Isles, and so gradually made their way to 
the south. We know that in old days their vessels were very 
much better than those now commonly used by them; and the 
voyage from Japan to Hawaii, and thence to Tahiti, would have 
been by no means impossible, especially as the existing strong 
ocean-currents would naturally tend to draw any ship by this 

It is said that even a log of wood fairly launched on the Malay 
coast, would naturally drift by this circuitous water-way till it 
returned westward to the shores of 'New Guinea. A glance at a 
map of ocean-currents will, I think, make this plain to you. 

I know that this theory is contrary to that generally entertained ; 
but as the natives of Tahiti have always maintained that their 
ancestors came from Hawaii (to which they retain the strongest 
links of family affection, the principal families of the two groups 
being united to one another by ties of blood), I cannot understand 


why learned men should maintain that Hawaii must really mean 
Savaii in the Samoan group, concerning which the Tahitians know 
little or nothing, except what they have learned, by their visits to 
that group, in the character of native missionaries. 

There are many points which seem to me in favour of the cir- 
cuitous route via Japan; such, for instance, as the gradual de- 
terioration in the art of tattooing, in which, beyond all question, 
Japan excels all other nations, and which in the Marquesas, Tahiti, 
'New Zealand, and, I think, also in Hawaii, retained its graceful 
character, gradually falling off as it travelled westward to Fiji 
and Tonga. Many other points of similarity exist, such as the 
use of the honorific prefix before proper names , as in Japan, 
0-yama (Eespected mountain), or in addressing any person politely. 
Tliroughout Polynesia the same custom exists. • Hence early travel- 
lers wrote of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, as 0-whyhee, 0-taheiti, 0- 
samoa; and the same with reference to names of persons. 

Another point which to me appears to support the theory of the 
circuitous movement is, that those best acquainted with Samoan 
matters assert that, beyond any doubt, the EUice group, lying far 
to the west of Samoa, was peopled from thence. It is therefore 
only natural to infer that the tall, comely race of light copper- 
coloured people who inhabit the south-east coast of ^N'ew Guinea 
(that is to say, due west from the Ellice Isles), probably reached 
those shores about the same period, and from the same direction. 
Their women are beautifully tattooed, and their language wonder- 
fully resembles that of the Earotongan teachers, who have come 
from the distant Hervey Isles to settle among them as pioneers, 
sent by the native mission in that far easterly group ; in fact, many 
of their words are identical. 

Again, it is a well-established fact that Fotuna and Aniwa, two 
of the southern 'New Hebrides, which lie due west of the Friendly 
Isles, were peopled by the descendants of a party of Tongans, who 
drifted thither in a large canoe and settled on these uninhabited 
isles. These islanders have retained their own language, and their 
children when born are very fair, but as they grow up they become 
almost as dark in colour as their Papuan neighbours. Their hair 


is of the Polynesian tjrpe, and some allow it to grow long and 
smooth by not dyeing it with lime. 

Yet another argument in favour of the migration having origin- 
ally taken a northward course, lies in the physical development of 
the race. Surely it is easier to recognise a direct Malay ancestry 
for the warlike little Japanese, with their reverence for the sacred 
swords of their demi-gods, than for these stalwart Polynesians, with 
their firmly knit, muscular limbs, and stately yet graceful bearing. 
The race increased in stature, improved in feature, and enriched in 
colour on their southward way — circumstances doubtless due to 
more easy and luxurious lives, with better and more abundant 

Beautiful as is the rich copper colour of these islanders, their 
own ideal of beauty, as showing pure blood, consists in possessing 
a very fair skin ; and I have often been amused, when sketching, 
by their anxiety to be represented several shades lighter than 
nature, not from any wish to resemble foreigners, but evidently 
as embodying their tradition of good ancestry. They by no means 
despise the use of cosmetics to bring about so desirable a result : 
the Marquesan women, for instance, though naturally of a light 
copper colour, contrive to make their skin almost white by an 
application of the root of the papawa tree. 

That modifying circumstances may produce such changes, both 
in stature and complexion, is now, I suppose, generally admitted ; 
in fact it is almost certain that in some cases where barren atolls 
(such as the Kingsmill or Gilbert group, on the equator) have from 
accidental circumstances been peopled by descendants of these 
splendid men they have degenerated beyond recognition, and are 
now a short, spare, and generally ugly race. Naturally, the change 
from unbounded supplies of nutritious vegetable diet — bread-fruit, 
bananas, cocoa-nut, yams, sugar, and all the luxuries of the tropics — 
to isles where a coarse meal, prepared from the woody fruit of the 
pandanus, is the only edible form of vegetable, has in due time 
produced this result. Therefore it seems perfectly reasonable to 
infer that the converse occurred when an under-fed aggressive race, 
engaged from their cradles in piracy and strife, found themselves 

284 A lady's cruise. 

at rest in these Capuan isles, and there yielded to the habits of 
indolent ease, which they so naturally engender. 

Yet to this day the chief characteristics of the Malays are com- 
mon throughout Polynesia. In each of these groups a truly Asiatic 
code of "wearisome, elaborate ceremonial is observed on every pos- 
sible occasion; the smallest breach of etiquette is considered a 
crime ; a joke of any sort, especially of the nature of " chaff," is 
an unpardonable offence ; in speech, flowery compliments which 
mean nothing and veil thought are the rule — slow, deliberate 
oratory, in which the best speaker is he who can talk for hours 
without touching his point, and then condense all he wishes to say, 
in a few pithy words. 

All these islanders are distinguished by a natural grace and 
courtesy of manner — sometimes dignified, at others most winning ; 
yet under extreme external politeness they have often nursed 
schemes of cold treachery and cruelty, which they have carried 
out unscrupulously to the bitter end. (I speak, of course, of the 
islanders as they were by nature, ere the mellowing, transforming 
influence of Christianity had dawned on the South Seas.) But to 
this hour the Polynesians, like the Malays, are, as a rule, careless, 
easy-going, impassive beings, generally light-hearted ; all fatalists, 
as a matter of course; strangely indiiferent to physical pain, 
whether endured by themselves or inflicted on others ; but when 
once roused to fighting-pitch, wholly uncontrollable in their blind 
mad fury. 

But the strongest proof of their Malay descent lies in the simi- 
larity of their various languages, both to one another and to the 
mother tongue. It is not merely a likeness in general construc- 
tion, but many words are almost identical, as you may gather at 
a glance from the following vocabulary. In short, the whole sub- 
ject is extremely interesting, but is one which I must leave to the 
discussion of learned folk, whose wise disquisitions you can study 
at your leisure. 



















































































































































































































'ci cJ 














































































































































Here are the Numerals. 


















Dua or 










































































Tiue ka 




Lua Fu- 

Rua sang 
a vula 


Eua ono- 






The Red House, Papeete, 
Saturday, December 1st. 

"We have had a very gay week, including several festivities on 
board the three French men-of-war now in harbour. On Saturday 
I -was invited to dine on board Le Limier, with the Greens, Vien- 
nots, and Verniers. (In case your French fads you, I may remind 
you that a limier is a blood-hound ; a fact which I only recollected 
on seeing canine heads on all the boats.) M. Pu^ch is a good 
friend of the French Protestant Mission, and his visit to Tahiti is 
a happy event for all its members. After a pleasant dinner, we 
sat on deck to hear the sailors sing, and then went off in small 
canoes for a nearer sight of the j^eche a fiamheaux, which was going 


on in every direction near the reef — the flashing torches and dark 
figures of the fishermen forming a most picturesque scene. 

Another day we breakfasted on board Le Seignelay, and in the 
afternoon a large party assembled on La Magicienne to see "the 
boat-races. A pretty sight, and seen from a beautiful and most 
luxurious ship. 

On Wednesday, the admiral held his last reception at Govern- 
ment House, at which there was a very large attendance ; and Mrs 
Brander had most mirthful dances here on Monday, and again last 
night. The latter was a farewell, and I fear that to many of the 
young folk it was really a very sorrowful one. 

This morning we watched La Magicienne steam out of harbour 
on her way to Valparaiso. The admiral leaves a pleasant vice- 
governor in M. D'Oncieue de la Battye, who is happily allowed 
to "retain the excellent band till the arrival of the new governor ; 
when the Seignelay is to convey him and it to Valparaiso. So the 
Tahitians find some consolation in this arrangement. 

Sunday Evening. 

I think our Sundays would seem to you rather a curious medley, 
so I will give you a sketch of to-day from morning till evening. 
I was, as usual, awakened at 5 a.m. by the chattering of many voices, 
as the boats discharged their cargoes of fruit and rainbow-coloured 
fish beneath my windows. It was an exquisite cloudless morning, 
and I was seized with a sudden impulse to follow the crowd to the 
market, which hitherto I had only seen in its deserted afternoon 

Passing by roads which are called streets, but are rather shady 
bowers of yellow hybiscus and bread-fruit trees, I entered the covered 
market-place, where were assembled as gay a throng as you could 
wish to see, many of them dressed in flowing robes of the very 
brightest colours; for the people here assembled are chiefly le 
peuple, whose days of ceremonial mourning for their good old 
queen are drawing to a close ; so the long tresses of glossy black 
hair, hitherto so carefully hidden within their jaunty little sailor 


hats, are now again sufTered to liang at full length in two silky- 
plaits, and hair and hats are wreathed Avith bright fragrant flowers 
of double Cape jessamine, orange-blossom, scarlet hybiscus, or 
oleander. Many wear a delicate white jessamine star in the ear 
in place of an ear-ring. The people here are not so winsome as 
those in remoter districts. Too much contact with shipping and 
grog-shops has of course gone far to deteriorate them, and take 
off the freshness of life ; but a South Sea crowd is always made 
up of groups pleasant to the eye ; and a party of girls dressed in 
long graceful sacques of pale sea-green, or delicate pink, pure 
white, or bright crimson, chatting and laughing as they roll up 
minute fragments of tobacco in strips of pandanus or banana to 
supply the inevitable cigarette, is always attractive. 

The men all wear pareos of Manchester cotton stuff, prepared 
expressly for these isles, and of the most wonderful patterns. 
Those most in favour are bright crimson with a large white 
pattern, perhaps groups of red crowns on circles of white, arranged 
on a scarlet ground, or else rows of white crowns, alternating with 
groups of stars. A dark-blue ground with circles and crosses in 
bright y^ellow, or scarlet with yellow anchors and circles, also find 
great favour ; and thougli they certainly sound " loud " when thus 
described, they are singularly effective. It is wonderful what a 
variety of patterns can be produced, not one of which has ever 
been seen in England. With these the men wear white shirts, and 
sailor's hats, with bright-coloured silk handkerchiefs tied over them 
and knotted on the ear ; or else a gay garland. 

On entering the market, it struck me that many of the sellers 
must have taken up their quarters over-night, for their gay quilts 
and pUlows lay near, as they sat on their mats snatching a hasty 
breakfast of fruit or raw fish. 

The latter is always in favour. Little fish or big fish of certain 
sorts are swallowed with apparently the same delight as you might 
hail a basket of ripe cherries ; in fact, a green banana-leaf full of 
skipping shrimps, is a dainty dish for any pretty maid, who 
crunches the wriggling creatures with her gleaming white teeth, or 
lets them hop down her throat with the greatest coolness. 


The fish here offered for sale are of every sort and size and 
colour. Large silvery fish, flat fish ; long narrow fish with pro- 
longed snouts, excellent to eat ; the au or needle-fish, with long 
sharp-pointed head ; and gay scarlet and green and blue fishes of 
every colour of the rainbow. I have seen gaudy fish in many 
tropical seas, but nowhere such brilliancy as here. There are rock- 
fish of all sorts, bonito, good fresh-water salmon with Avhite flesh, 
eels, mussels, turtle, clams, echini, prawns, red and white cray-fish, 
&c., &c. Sometimes the market has a fair supply of poultry, 
turkeys, fowls, pigeons, and wild duck, — generally a few live joigs, 
which are carried hanging from a pole and squealing pitifully. 
They are very good, and clean feeders, being allowed to wander 
at large, and find themselves in cocoa-nuts and bread-fruit. The 
enterprising Chinamen, as usual, improve the vegetable supply, 
especially in the matter of what I venture to call (Christian pota- 
toes, in opposition to the indigenous potato, alias yam. 

Every one brings to the morning market whatever he happens 
to have for sale. Some days he has a large stock-in-trade, some- 
times next to nothing. But, be it little or be it much, he divides it 
into two lots, and slings his parcels or baskets from a light bam- 
boo-pole which rests across his shoulder, and, light as it is, often 
weighs more than the trifles suspended from it, — perhaps a few 
shrimps in a green leaf are slung from one end, and a lobster from 
the other, or, it may be, a tiny basket of new-laid eggs balanced by 
half-a-dozen silvery fishes. 

But often the burden is so heavy that the pole bends with the 
weight — of perhaps two huge bunches of mountain Ijananas — and 
you think how that poor fellow's shoulder must have ached as he 
carried his spoil down the steep mountain-path from the cleft in 
the rugged rock where the faces had contrived to take root. These 
resemble bunches of gigantic golden plums. As a bit of colour 
they are glorious, but as a vegetable I cannot learn to like them, 
— which is perhaps as well, as the native proverb says that the 
foreigner who does appreciate faces, can never stay away from 

As you enter the cool shady market you see hundreds of those 


290 A lady's cruise. 

golden clusters hanging from ropes stretched across the building, 
and great bunches of mangoes and oranges. These last lie heaped 
in baskets, among cool green leaves. Sometimes a whole laden 
bough has been recklessly cut off. Pine-apples, bread-fruit, cocoa- 
nuts, all are there, and baskets of scarlet tomatoes, suggestive of 
cool salads. 

But tempting above all are the luscious mangoes, wliosc thin 
skins are ready to Tnirst at a touch, and yield their treasure of 
delight to thirsting lips. Purple, or golden, or pale yellow, long- 
shaped or egg-shaped, I know not which to prefer; each in turn 
seems more delicious than any other, and the only difficulty is to 
stop feasting before the basket is empty ! If Tahiti owns no other 
debt of gratitude to France, she at least has to thank a French 
governor for this excellent fruit, Avliich is now so thoroughly 
acclimatised, that it has attained a perfection rarely equalled in 
any other country, and, moreover, grows so luxuriantly and bears 
fruit so abundantly, as to form an important item in the food of 
the people. 

Eeturning from the market to a pleasant early breakfast on the 
cool verandah, I rested in luxurious quiet till the bells of the 
Eoman church close by, summoned the faithful to the nine o'clock 
service, which I generally attend, in preference to walking in the 
heat to the large native Congregational church — " le temjjle Protes- 
tant " — where the long service, in a tongue to me unknown, is a 
weariness of flesh and spirit. Moreover, it lacks the picturesque 
element which was to me so attractive in the simple Fijian 
churches, where soft mats are the only furnishings required. 
Here the congregation are penned in hideous pews, which make 
it difficult, if not impossible, to kneel — a natural attitude of 
worship, which, in the early daj^s of Tahitian Christianity, was as 
common as it now is in Fiji, but from which the modern Tahitians 
refrain in church, as savouring of Eomish ritual ! 

At the Catholic church, the bishop preaches half in French, half 
in Tahitian, that all his hearers may carry away some message in 
their own tongue ; and the singing by the French Sisters and their 
school-children is always sweet and harmonious. I cannot say the 


congregation is large — merely a small handful of natives ; suck of 
the French as are compelled to be present at all, having already 
been in official attendance at the eight o'clock military Mass, 
">vhich is to me a very distasteful form of worship. I think that 
good Pere Collet looks on me as rather a hopeful convert ; but I 
tell him I only appear as the representative of my naval friends, 
who all consider church-going in any form as altogether unneces- 
sary, neither officers nor sailors ever attending service since our 
arrival here. 

After church, we went to breakfast on board Le Seignelay, and 
then to see Queen Marau, whom we escorted to the Government 
House gardens, where we were joined by several friends. The 
great attractions there are two newly arrived Russian bears, 
passengers by Le Limier — nice brown beasts, and very tame. 

"We returned here just in time for the family dinner, from which, 
as usual, Mrs Brander and I made our way to the evening service 
at the little Congregational chapel, at which only a tiny handful 
of the foreign residents assemble. All the members of the Protes- 
tant mission officiate by turns, in French or English; and this 
evening M. Vernier conducted the service in admirable English. 
But a strong counter-attraction is offered by the pleasant gardens, 
where the band always reserves its most attractive programme for 
Sunday night ; and we catch tempting snatches of lovely operatic 
airs as we walk homeward by the hybiscus-shaded lanes. 

Fautawa Valley, Tliursday, 6th Dec. 

Last ]\Ionday the whole party moved out from Papeete to this 
lovely country-home. It is a delightful bungalow, built by Mr 
Brander — a cool one-storeyed house, with wide shady verandahs ; a 
pleasant garden, bright with summer flowers ; masses of cool shade • 
and a clear, beautiful river, which affords a dozen delightful bath- 
ing-places of varied depth, so that every one can select a spot ac- 
cording to his own heart's desire. All the family and their friends 
can swim like fishes, so of course they prefer the deep pools, and 
have a favourite spot just below the house, where they disport 

292 A lady's cruise. 

themselves joyously at all hours of the day ; and the first hospit- 
able offer made to callers, is that of a ^jcn-eo and towels, that they 
may at once enjoy this most refreshing luxury. 

I, being a foolish non-swimmer, and moreover somewhat ungre- 
garious, have discovered a bathing paradise for myself some way 
further up the stream, where the interlacing boughs of cool blue- 
grey hybiscus foliage form an immense arbour — a dressing-room of 
leafy shade, through Avhich the gurgling waters flow gently, with 
rippling, licjuid, most musical tones — the voice of hidden streams. 
Here a rivulet leaves the main river, and its sparkling waters play 
over a thick velvety carpet of the softest, greenest mosses, forming 
the most delightful couch you can imagine ; w^hile from the leafy- 
canopy overhead drop pale lemon-coloured blossoms, which float 
idly down the stream ; and from the wild guava bushes I can pluck 
any number of ripe guavas, or, to be still more luxurious, I may 
gather luscious mangoes on my way from the house. Can you 
wonder that so fascinating a bower is not only my first attraction 
at early dawn, but a favourite retreat at all hours 1 Sometimes I 
end the evening with a moonlight bathe, but am inclined to think 
that this is imprudent, as it is always followed by a feeling of chill, 
though the water and air both feel warm and delicious. 

My hostess has presented me with a couple of sacques like those 
worn by all Tahitian ladies. They are the perfection of dress in 
this climate, being so delightfully cool. They are literally flowing 
garments, for they only touch you at the shoulders, and thence fall 
in long loose folds. So when the first ray of light gilds the high 
mountains in which this lovely valley lies embosomed, I slip on one 
of those simple dresses, and start barefoot across the dewy lawn and 
by the grassy paths that lead to the stream. Going barefoot is only 
a preliminary stage of bathing, for the grass is saturated with mois- 
ture, and an early walk across a field is about ecjuivalent to Avalking 
knee-deep through a river. 

Curiously enough, it is to this heavy night-dew that the royal 
family of Tahiti owe their name of Pomare, wliich literally means 
" night cough." About four generations back the king chanced to 
be sleeping on the mountains and exposed to the penetrating dew 


wliicli brought on a troublesome cough. His followers spoke of 
the po mare, and the sound of the words pleased the royal ear ; and 
thenceforth the king adopted this euphonious but singular surname, 
which has since been borne by each crowned head. 

This very odd custom of adopting a name to commemorate some 
simple event, was common to a good many of the isles. Mr Gill 
mentions such names as " Lost son," adopted by the king of Man- 
gaia when his son had been stolen ; a title retained long after the 
lad had been restored. Another man took the name of " Deal- 
coffin," because a relation had been buried in a sailor's chest. One 
chief desired to be always called " Press me," because those words 
had been uttered by a dying grandchild when in pain ; and another 
was called " Dim-sight," because his grandfather suffered from weak 

This pleasant country-home is about three miles from Papeete, 
and various carriages are ready after early breakfast to convey the 
gentlemen to town, whence some return to late breakfast, others not 
till dinner-time. But all day long, people come and go on divers 
errands of business or pleasure ; and the drive is so pretty as to be 
in itself quite an enjoyment. In short, life here is altogether easy 
and luxurious, combined with most captivating simplicity. 

The already large family party has been increased by the arrival 
of a third big brother, Ariipaea, who has been for some time living 
on another of the islands. Mrs Salmon and the pretty young 
sisters, and several friends, are also staying here, a most loving 
" family-pie." To Xarii this happy valley has an additional charm, 
for it is also the home of a certain charming " IMademoiselle Cecile," 
whom he hopes ere long to include in the family circle. 

Ches THE Rev James Green, Papeete, 

Friday Eveninr). 

This morning early, Ariipaea drove me here, where it had been 
arranged that I should meet M. Brun, the jm.steur of ]\Inorca, and 
accompany him to his beautiful isle. We were to have taken pas- 
sage in one of a small fleet of Mooroa T)oats, which arrived here 
some days ago in order to build a district house, which shall hence- 

294 A lady's ckuise, 

forth be the regular headquarters of all ]\Iooreans who have occasion 
to visit Papeete. The house was finished this morning, and the 
event was notified by a most deafening beating of native drums, 
after which all the boats set sail, very sensibly objecting to lose the 
fair breeze by any delay. M. Brun arrived in time to see them fly- 
ing before the wind, like a flight of white butterflies. 

I solaced myself by commencing a careful study of a noble bread- 
fruit tree, overshadowing Queen Moe's house, when suddenly a cry 
was raised that an English man-of-war was signalled. Great was 
the excitement that prevailed, as it is fully four years since the 
British ensign was last seen in this harbour, and there was a general 
chorus of disappointment when it was found that the visitor was only 
a small sloop, H.M.S. Daring; a disappointment, however, which 
was followed by great rejoicing, when it became known that she 
was the forerunner of H.M.S. Shah, Admiral de Horsey's flag-ship, 
which is to arrive here in a few days. Already the small society of 
the place is in a ferment at the prospect of so important a visitor ; 
and the arrival of about fifty English officers will compensate for 
the departure of the French flag-ship. So all manner of hospital- 
ities are already under discussion, as we gathered from the general 
conversation at the band this evening. 

I shall leave this letter to go by H.M.S. Daring, in case she sails 
before I return from Moorea; so shall bid you good-bye for the 




Chez Madame Brun, Papetoai, Moobea, 
Saturday, Sth, 

I am safely ensconced in this most charming little home, and 
very glad indeed to have reached it, for we have had rather a 
tiring day. Mrs Green most kindly gave me breakfast at five, that 


I might be ready for a six o'clock start ; but it was fully eight 
before we got away, in a Haapiti boat, which agreed to bring us to 
this side of the island. "VVe rowed out of harbour, hoping to catch 
a breeze, but it fell dead calm, and for four long hours we lay just 
outside the reef, rocked by heavy rollers — the Avater smooth as oil, 
and the burning heat of the sun so intense that I almost expected 
that the water would really frizzle ! The thermometer at this season 
sometimes rises to 120° in the shade. I am afraid that if the truth 
must be confessed, both M. Brun and I were exceeding sea-sick. 

At last, to our great relief, a fresh breeze sprang up, and our little 
boat literally flew over the water, and in less than two hours carried 
lis across to the pretty village of Tiaia, in the district of Teaharoa, 
whence one hour's rowing inside the reef, along the most lovely 
shore, brought us here, where we were welcomed to this sweet 
French home by its pretty clever little mistress, and three char- 
mingly old-fashioned children, Lucie, Henri, and Adrien, who ad- 
ministered refreshing hot tea to the tired and giddy travellers ; after 
which I, for one, yielded to peaceful sleep, and awoke to find the 
watchful little trio all ready to escort me in any direction, and show 
me such treasures of delight as only true country children can dis- 
cover. This is a fairy-like nest, on the shore of the loveliest sea 
lake, with wooded mountains all round, and a background of mighty 
rock-pinnacles, which are glorified in this evening light, and seem 
like the toAvers and ramparts of some celestial city, 

Sunday, 9th. 

To me this has been a day of intense peace. A silence which 
may be felt seems to enfold this exquisite spot, and from morning 
till evening not a ripple has disturbed the perfect calm of the blue 
Avaters — only the light fronds of the cocoa-palms quiver and gleam 
with every faint breath of air. 

The village is perhajis a quarter of a mile from the house, and 
lies buried in a thicket of bread-fruit and mango trees. There my 
hosts have spent the greater part of the day, having held four 
church services, and morning and afternoon school. But I have 
rejoiced in a day of quiet idleness, spent chiefly on the lovely shore 

29G A lady's cruise. 

boncath the shadow of very large trees, whose great boughs over- 
hang the white coral beach, — shell-strewn and crab-haunted. At 
high tide the silvery waters creep upward till the far-sj^reading 
roots are half bathed in the brine, while the other half are buried 
in a tangle of lilac marine convolvulus, wherein myriads of hermit- 
crabs disport themselves. 

Madame Valles came to breakfast. She is the daughter of that 
dear old lady Mrs Simpson, of whose death I told you in a former 
letter. Her husband is a retired French naval officer, Avho has 
settled in this beautiful valley as a planter. 

This evening several members of the congregation met here to 
hold a prayer -meeting, after which tliey sang most harmonious 
sacred Idmenes — the very first I have heard since I was last on 

I have rarely in any land seen a nicer and more thoroughly 
respectable-looking body of people than these ; so gentle and cour- 
teous in their manners, and apparently so reliable. I fancy that in 
this secluded isle the people have retained more of their primitive 
Christianity than they have done in Papeete, where French influ- 
ence and utter infidelity are continually acting as a leaven of evil, 
and where the fervour of first love is certainly a thing of the past, 
as regards the mass of the population. 

Such at least is my own impression, seeing only the surface of 
life, and naturally comparing things here with the very high stand- 
ard now existing in Fiji, which has been my home for the last two 
years. The impulsive children of the South Seas are readily influ- 
enced for good or for evil ; and as they quickly and whole-heartedly 
turned from their idols to embrace the purer faith taught them by 
devout wliite men, so now they are in danger of becoming even 
more careless than the average foreigners. I do not, however, mean 
to imply that the Tahitians or any of the islanders who have once 
adopted Christianity, have yet fallen away from its practice, so far 
as the bulk of the people in any European nation. In such matters 
as meeting for family prayer, and thanksgiving at meals, probably a 
much larger proportion of Tahitians than of Britons are still true to 
their early teaching. 


It really is very difficult, in presence of such peaceful, kindly 
people, and such settled forms of civilised Christian life, to realise 
what different scenes were witnessed by the earlier visitors of this 
lovely isle at the time of its discovery by Captain ^Vallis in 1767, 
and Captain Cook's subsequent visit. 

It was in March 1797 that the first band of missionaries arrived 
here in the Duff, landing on Tahiti near Point Venus, where at 
first they were kindly welcomed by King Pomare, Queen Idia, and 
the chiefs, who seem to have expected that they would prove not 
merely sources of wealth, by distributing barter, but also able 
assistants in the art of war. 

But when the new-comers were found to be men of peace, and 
their mission that of teaching, they soon fell in the estimation of 
the natives, and for many years they struggled, apparently in vain, 
to stem the tide of idolatry and of such evil practices as infanti- 
cide and the offering of human victims to the feather-gods, as the 
Tahitians called their idols, because they were generally adorned 
either with the scarlet feathers of a small bird, or the long tail- 
feathers of the man-of-war or tropic bird. 

As quicksilver attracts gold, so was it supposed that this gay 
plumage became the very incarnation of the god ; therefore, when 
a tribe Avent forth to war (and of course desired that the presence 
of their god should be with them) they held a solemn service at 
the temple, and then took perhaps only one feather from off the 
principal idol, and placed it in the ark prepared for it on the sacred 
canoe, which formed part of every fleet. Then, till the close of 
that expedition, all Avorship was addressed only to the feather- 
symbol, and no sacrifices or prayers were offered at the marae, 
lest the attention of the god being divided, he should return to 
the land, forsaking the warriors. 

At other times, however, he was present alike at every domestic 
shrine which possessed a feather brought from the great temple. 
For, as other nations have carried sacred symbolic firo from the 
altar, to sanctify their domestic hearth or their family temple, so 
did these Tahitians year by year assemble at the great national 
temple, bringing with them offerings of the precious feathers. 

29S A lady's cruise. 

These the priests deposited inside tlic hollow idols, distributing 
among the worshippers those which had lain there since the pre- 
vious year, thereby imbibing such essence of sanctity as to convey 
the very presence of the god wherever they were carried. 

Xot that these were the only visible symbols of the gods. Some 
appeared to their worshippers in the form of sharks ; others, less 
terrible, took the form of divers birds. Hence, as I described to 
you in one of my letters from Samoa, so here in Tahiti and Moorea, 
the herons, king-fishers, and woodpeckers which frequented the old 
trees round the temples, were reverenced as incarnations of the 
deities, and their cries were interpreted as oracles. 

So strong was the hold of these superstitions, that for several 
years the mission seemed to make little or no progress beyond the 
establishment of gardens in which various imported fruits and 
vegetables were successfully raised, and the people were taught to 
cultivate them systematically for their own use. Orange -trees, 
limes, shaddocks, citrons, tamarinds, guavas, custard-apples, peaches, 
figs and vines, pine-apples and water-melons, pumpkins and cucum- 
bers, cabbages and other vegetables, were thus first introduced to 
the island, where they are noAv so thoroughly acclimatised. 

But in an evil hour a great intertribal war broke out for the 
bodily possession of Oro, the national idol, and this first civilising 
inliuence was swept away — the mission premises were laid waste, 
the garden entirely destroyed, and the work of twelve years 
scattered to the winds. 

King Pomare, Otu his son, and all the chiefs and warriors of the 
isle, had assembled at the great marac at Atehuru, where many 
fatted pigs were offered on the altar, while the surrounding trees 
were adorned with the ghastly corpses of human victims, all of whom 
had been sacrificed to Oro. The ark containing the symbolic feather 
was then placed on the sacred canoe belonging to the royal fleet. 

But on the following day Otu pretended to have had a revelation 
that the idol itself wished to be removed to Tautira ; and on the 
chiefs of Atehuru refusing to allow this, his followers rushed to 
the temple, seized the idol, carried it off to the sea, and immedi- 
ately set sail. As soon as they reached land a human sacrifice was 


ordered, lest Oro should resent this very cavalier treatment ; and 
as no captive was at hand, one of the king's own servants was 
slain, and offered as an atonement. Of course the despoiled chiefs 
flew to arms, and prepared to revenge themselves, and recapture 
their god. About 300 warriors came from the isle of Eimeo, now 
called Moorea, to the aid of the king, and bloody battles were 
fought, in which the chiefs' army was almost invariably successful. 

There does not appear to have been any trace of cannibalism on 
either side, but the bodies of the slain were offered in sacrifice to 
Oro by the victors ; while, on the other hand, the king's party did 
not cease offering human sacrifices, and propitiating the idol by 
every means in their power. It ^vas recaptured by the chiefs of 
Atehuru, who, however, Avith singular religious chivalry, allowed 
the king to land and deposit his offerings near the temple, though 
they naturally would not admit him within its precincts. 

Happily for the mission party, it so happened that just at this 
crisis a trading vessel came into harbour and landed some men ; 
and about the same time another small vessel was driven ashore, 
with a crew of seventeen Englishmen. Thus they mustered a force 
of twenty-three Europeans, who nof only put the mission-house 
into a state of defence, but lending their aid to the king, rendered 
him material aid — a service which they must have regretted on 
seeing that all prisoners of war were immediately put to death, 
and their bodies savagely mutilated. Finally, the chiefs agreed to 
resign the custody of- the idol to the king ; and so, for a while, 
ended one of the many bloody struggles by which the various 
nations of the earth have drained their heart's blood for the pos- 
session of some bit of so-called sacred wood or bone. 

Thenceforward the young King Otu carried the precious god 
with him, whenever he sailed from one isle to another; and the 
sacred canoe on which its ark was borne, was always deposited at 
some marae shaded by sombre trees, from whose boughs human 
victims offered sacrificially were immediately suspended. 

While such scenes as these were the incidents of daily life, the 
mission party had hardships enough to contend with. Five whole 
years elapsed without either letters or supplies reacliing tliem from 

300 A lady's cruise. 

England. Their ciotlies were worn out, boots or shoes were well- 
nigh forgotten superfluities ; tea and sugar were among the luxuries 
of the past. At last a small vessel arrived, specially chartered to 
bring the letters and supplies which had for so long been accumu- 
lating at Port Jackson. Imagine the rapture of seeing that little 
vessel arrive; and then the dismay of disco-'ering that almost 
everything she had brought was either useless Irom having lain so 
long at Port Jackson, or saturated with salt water owing to the 
wretched condition of the sliip. You who live in luxury at home, 
with everything of the best, and plenty of it, and with so many 
daily posts as to be a positive nuisance, cannot possibly realise 
the weariness of that long waiting, or the depth of that disappoint- 

^or was there anything cheering in daily life. The mission 
work seemed to make no progress at all ; the people openly mocked 
the white men, and despised their teaching. 

In 1808 war broke out again more savagely than before. The 
altars of Oro reeked with human blood; villages were burnt, 
plantations destroyed, and the whole country reduced to desolation 
and ruin. The mission settlement was ransacked, the houses 
burnt, the books distributed among the warriors to be used as 
cartridge-paper, the printing-types melted to make musket-balls, 
and every implement of iron found on the place was converted 
into a destructive weapon. The gardens were again demolished, 
and the students, finding the din of war more congenial than the 
arts of peace, joined their brethren in arms. 

Finally, feeling that their lives were in imminent danger, and 
that there was apparently nothing to be gained bj^ remaining, the 
mission party resolved to abandon Tahiti ; and taking advantage 
of a vessel which happily arrived in harbour, they embarked for 
Port Jackson, two only, IMr Hayward and ]\Ir Xott, resolving to 
remain at their several posts and face the worst — the former at 
Huahine, the latter at Eimeo, to which King Pomare had fled 
from his enemies. Various attempts were made on their lives, 
happily without fatal result ; and they continued to work as best 
they could till the year 1812, when, at the invitation of King 


Pomare, those who had been driven away from Tahiti returned, 
and made a fresh effort to establish the mission on Eimeo. 

They were cordially welcomed by the king, and by a small 
number of chiefs, who, by Pomare's words and example, had been 
brought to look with contempt on their idols, and to incline to- 
wards the new faith ; and though greatly distracted by intertribal 
wars, this little company resolved to build a substantial house 
which should be set apart for the worship of the true God. Thus 
in the summer of 1813 was the iirst Christian church in the 
group erected in Papetoai, the very place whence I now write. 

Thirty persons came forward to make public profession of their 
faith, desiring to have their names enrolled as having rejected idol- 
worship. Among those who did so was Patii, the high priest of 
the district, who came to Mr ISTott, and announced his intention of 
publicly burning all the idols in his care. It was a promise heard 
with thankfulness not unmingled with dread, for there was every 
probability that such an act would lead to wild excitement among 
the heathen, and might possibly result in a massacre of the Chris- 
tians. However, Patii had made up his mind, and at the appoint- 
ed hour he and his friends collected a heap of fuel on the sea- 
shore, near the huge marae where he had so often offered human 
sacrifices to these dumb idols, which he now brought forth, and 
tearing off the sacred cloth in which they had hitherto been draped, 
he exhibited them in their hideous nakedness, to the vast multi- 
tudes who had hitherto assembled at his bidding to do them 
homage, and who had now come to witness this act of impious 

Some of these ugly little gods were rudely carved human figures, 
and some had tiny figures carved in relief all over one large image ; 
others were shapeless logs of wood, covered with finely braided 
cocoa-nut fibre and scarlet feathers; while some were angular 
columns of basalt, quite rough, just as they had been found. One 
l)y one were these once dreaded idols cast into the flames by their 
former priest, who called on the people to behold their helplessness, 
and bewailed his own folly in having hitherto worshipped such 
monstrous objects. 

302 A lady's cruise. 

"Whatever may have been the feelings of the spectators, the 
dreaded tumult was averted, and the people dispersed quietly j 
indeed the example thus given was followed by many, both on 
Eimeo (it is now called ISfoorea) and also on Tahiti, to which two 
members of the mission — Messrs Scott and Hayward — now again 
ventured to cross. Great was their joy when they found that 
several of the natives had renounced idolatry and were earnest 
worshippers of Christ, having been awakened by some words of 
King Pomare to an exceeding longing for a better faith and purer 
life than that of their fathers. Glimmerings of light had also found 
their way to the Paumotu and other neighbouring isles, and by the 
close of 1814 tliere was reason to believe that a total of nearly 600 
persons had renounced idol-worship and were feeling their way 
towards the Light. 

JS'aturally, such a movement was not viewed with satisfaction 
by the great mass of the people. Everywhere the Cliristians were 
persecuted by their lieathen neighbours, who burnt their houses, 
destroyed their gardens, spoiled their goods, and even hunted them 
down, that they might offer them in sacrifice to the insulted gods. 
At all times it was customary to tell off certain families or tribes, 
from which the appointed victim-hunters were to select fit subjects 
for sacrifice ; and so numerous were those thus eligible, that on 
some isles about one-third of the population lived in terror for their 
lives, not knowing at what moment their doom might be sealed. 
In many cases whole families forsook their homes secretly, and 
started in their frail canoe to seek a new home on some unknown 
isle, preferring to risk the dangers of the sea, and the chance of 
being eaten by strangers, to the certainty that sooner or later their 
turn must come to be offered in sacrifice to their cruel gods. 

How this terrible doom first came to be attached to any family 
I cannot say, but, once decided, there was no escape. From gen- 
eration to generation the black shadow hung, like the sword of 
Damocles, over each member, from the grey grandfather to the 
mere stripling. As he went about his daily work, chatting with 
his most trusted neighbours, one of the latter might open his hand 
and reveal the small sacred stone which was his death-warrant, 


delivered by the priest to the man who craved some special boon, 
as a sj'mbol that the god required a human sacrifice, AVell did the 
doomed man know how useless was resistance. His neighbours 
knew no pity, and a brief struggle invariably resulted in his being 
clubbed and carried to the marae. 

!N"ow the supply of victims was furnished from among those 
known to favour the new faith ; and many a pathetic story is still 
told of the unflinching courage with which those brave martyrs 
met their fate, only pleading with their murderers that they too 
should renounce their idols and worship the living God. 

As in the early days of the Church, so now, homes were 
divided : the believing wife was beaten by her heathen husband, 
children were driven from their parents' roofs, and friends were 
turned to foes — all in the name of the gods. 

Those who worshipped the Saviour were distinguished by the 
name of Bure Atua (from hure, to pray, and Atua, God). 

In spite of the persecution, their numbers steadily increased, and 
at last three of the principal chiefs of Tahiti, who had hitherto 
been sworn foes, resolved to unite their forces for the total annihi- 
lation of the Bure Atua sect. A midnight meeting was appointed 
when the conspirators were suddenly to fall on their sleeping, 
unsuspecting neighbours, and slaughter great and small. Happily, 
a few hours before the massacre was to liave taken place, the Chris- 
tians received a secret hint of what was in store for them, and 
were able to reach the shore, launch their canoes, and sail for 
Eimeo. When, at the midnight hour, their foes reached the 
trysting-place, and found their victims flown, their rage knew no 
bounds, and angry recriminations commenced, which soon passed 
on to blows, ending in a free fight, in which one of the principal 
chiefs was killed, and his followers compelled to fly. 

In those turbulent days, it needed but a beginning to kindle a 
fierce war, and so it now proved. The heathen tribes having fallen 
out amongst themselves, seemed to forget their enmity to the Chris- 
tians, and fought bhndly among themselves. Beautiful and richly 
cultivated districts were reduced to desolation, houses burnt and 
property plundered, and numbers of the vanquished fled to Eimeo, 

304 A lady's cruise. 

to join the king and his party. Finally the weaker tribes fled to 
rocky fortresses in. the mountains, leaving one tribe — the Oropaa — 
masters of the Avhole island. 

These presently sent messengers to those who had taken refuge 
in Eimeo, inviting them to return to their homes in Tahiti. This 
they agreed to do ; but, according to native custom, King Pomare 
accompanied them to reinstate them in their lands. With him 
came a very large train of followers, who were chiefly Christians, 
and when they approached the shore of Tahiti, the pagan party 
refused to let them land. However, that point was yielded. 

On the following Sunday, about 800 of the king's party as- 
sembled for divine worship. Happily they had taken the precau- 
tion of assembling armed, for in the middle of service a firing of 
muskets Avas heard, and a largo body of men, bearing the flags of 
the gods, and all emblems of idolatry, were seen marching towards 
the place where they Avere assembled. Very striking is the story 
of that day's contest. When the enemy was seen approaching, 
King Pomare arose and bade all remember that they were under 
the special protection of Jehovah, and that, having met to worship 
Him, they must not be diverted from their purpose. So all stood 
up to sing the accustomed hymn, then knelt in united prayer. 
1'hey then formed themselves into three columns, the women 
taking their place among the men, resolved, like them, to fight 
with spear and musket. Thus they awaited the attack of the foe. 
The battle-field was a strip of ground between the sea and the 
mountains, covered with patches of brushwood. Under cover of 
these, the Cliristians again and again throughout the day knelt by 
twos and by threes to crave the help of the Almighty. After some 
hours of desperate fighting, Upufara, the highest chief of the 
heathen, was killed. His party were so disheartened that a panic 
seized them, and they fled from the field, never pausing till they 
reached their strongholds in the mountains. 

Thus the king's party remained in undisputed possession, and 
prepared, as in old days, to follow up their victory. ]jut King 
Pomare had learnt a new lesson in war. He forbade any of his 
people to pursue the vanquished, or to enter their villages, either 


to plunder the gardens or molest their wives and families. He, 
liowever, selected a trustworthy force, and bade them march to 
Tautira, to the temple of Oro, and totally destroy both temple and 
idol, and everything connected with the old worship. At eventide 
he bade the chiefs call together the congregation which had beea 
so ruthlessly disturbed in the morning, and all knelt together in 
solemn thanksgiving for their great deliverance from so strong a 

The party whom he had despatched on so righteous a mission of 
destruction, carried out his orders implicitly. They turned neither 
to the right hand nor the left, till they reached Tautira, where 
they fully expected that the priests and people would make a stand 
in defence of their gods. They, however, met with no opposition 
from the crowds, who stood silently round while they entered the 
temple, hitherto held so sacred, and bringing out the idol, stripped 
him of his coverings, and exposed a rude unhewn log, about six 
feet long, of casuarina wood. Having utterly destroyed the temples, 
altars, and other idols, they carried off the rude log which for so 
many years had been the national god of Tahiti, and for the posses- 
sion of which the land had, during the last thirty years, been made 
desolate by incessant wars. It was now turned to better use as a 
post in the king's kitchen from which to suspend baskets of food. 
Eventually it was cut up for firewood. 

The effect of the king's clemency to the vanquished was magical. 
At first it seemed to them utterly incomprehensible ; but Avhen, 
under cover of night, some ventured from their hiding-places, and 
found their homes and families all undisturbed, and learnt that the 
bodies of the slain had received honourable burial, instead of being 
given to the dogs and pigs, and that the king had proclaimed a 
free pardon to all, then one by one they came down from the 
mountains to tender their submission to the merciful conqueror, 
and to learn from him the secret of such new principles. Then 
they agreed that the faith which inspired such deeds was assuredly 
the best, and with one accord they determined to destroy all their 
idols, and desired that the king would send messengers to instruct 
them in the good way. 


30G A lady's cruise. 

Accordingly, those who had themst^ives been most diligent in 
learning, were ■ sent to teach these new inquirers, and proved faith- 
ful and earnest iii their work. But so great was the demand for 
teachers, that they were altogether unable to meet it ; and in many 
a remote village, the people, having destroyed their idol temple, 
built a new house of prayer, where they met together to worship 
tlie God of the Christians, concerning whom they as yet knew 
so little, beyond the mercy practised by His followers. 

From this time forward, Christianity made steady progress ; and 
when, in the year 1817, Mr Ellis arrived as a missionary in these 
isles, he found almost the entire population professing it, and 
apparently devout in their practice. Family worship was estab- 
lished in all the principal houses ; and many had built in their 
gardens a small oratory, or, as they called it, fare hure huna — the 
house for hidden prayer. 

Already the grosser crimes of heathenism had been abandoned — 
especially the practice of infanticide, which had prevailed to so 
frightful an extent. In every district the schools were crowded, 
and those who had mastered the arts of reading and Avriting 
assisted in teaching those less advanced. Strange pictures pre- 
sented themselves in these classes, where bright, intelligent children 
were often the instructors of aged men and women, priests and 
Avarriors, to whom learning was a hard task, but one which they 
were determined to master, that they might read for themselves 
the wonderful book which had taught such wisdom to their king. 

These were in truth earnest scholars. The only books that had 
as yet reached them, were a spelling-book, printed in England, and 
a summary of the Old and New Testaments, printed at Port Jack- 
son. But of these there were few copies : and many of the people, 
in their anxiety to possess one, had prepared sheets of fine paper- 
mulberry fibre, on which, with a reed-pen, dipped in the sap of the 
banana-tree, they had carefully copied out whole pages of the 
reading-lessons, or fragments of the sacred Scriptures. Others had 
committed the whole to memory. 

Great, therefore, was their excitement and delight when Mr 
Ellis arrived at Afareaitu, bringing with him a good printing- 


press. Crowds besieged the printing-office day and night, to 
watch the progress of setting up the types, — the king himself 
preparing the first alphabet. His dehght when the first sheet 
was struck off, equalled that of his people; and all felt that it 
was a marked day in the history of Tahiti, when her king, Avith 
his own hands, printed the first page of the first book published in 
the South Sea Isles. 

The binding of the volumes was the next interest. The supply 
of millboard was small ; but again the fibre of the paper-mulberry 
was turned to account, several layers being pressed together to 
form a stiff pasteboard, which was then coloured with the purple 
dye obtained from the mountain-plantain; or else thin wooden 
boards were used, and covered -with the skin of whatever animal 
could be procured, — goat, cat, or dog : and the new art of tanning 
was among the earliest industries of the isle. 

Hitherto all books circulated in the isles had been distributed 
gratuitously, but it was deemed wiser for every reason, henceforth 
to exact a small payment in cocoa-nut oil, which was the article 
most easily obtained by the people. So great was their anxiety to 
purchase the books, that there were sometimes as many as thirty 
or forty canoes drawn up on the beach, having come from different 
remote vUlages, and having each brought several persons, whose 
sole object was to procure the precious volume, not only for them- 
selves, but for others. Some who were thus commissioned, were 
the bearers of huge bundles of green plantain-leaves, each rolled 
up like a parchment scroll, and being, in fact, a written order for a 
copy of the book, payment for which was sent in the form of a 
bamboo measure filled with oil. Many of these messengers waited 
for several weeks ere the copies could be supplied ; and some of 
the more urgent refused to leave the mission premises till the 
books were delivered to them, lest other men should slip in before 
them and carry off the coveted treasures. 

When we consider that teachers were so few, and worshippers 
so numerous, and that many large congregations assembled in the 
chapels they had built for Christian prayer, firmly believing that 
He in whose name they had met, was there present ; yet having 

308 A lady's cruise. 

none to lead their worsliip, save, perhaps, a newly converted priest 
of Oro, or a professional dancer, hitherto sunk in every form of 
vice, — we can the better understand the extreme anxiety of the 
people to possess the books which were the storehouses of excellent 

Have you ever realised the innumerable difficulties under which 
these early publishers had to contend ? To begin with, they hail 
themselves to reduce barbarous and hitherto unknown tongues to a 
written language, — no easy matter, considering that many of these 
dialects are so rich as to possess far more words to express shades 
of meaning than any European language.^ So, beginning with the 
alphabet, they had to work out equivalents for words in which the 
slightest change of accent conveys totally different meanings ; then 
they had to puzzle out very intricate grammatical structures, and, 
having mastered all this, had to commence the very difficult work 
of translating so large a book as the Bible — a book, moreover, 
treating of spiritual truths which it was hard indeed to render 
comprehensible to such very materialistic minds as these. 

Yet in the short space of about thirty years, the Scriptures have 
been translated into about twenty different languages, all previously 
unknown ; and there is not one group throughout Polynesia, the 
people of which do not now read the Scriptures in their own 
tongue. The same good work is now gradually extending through- 
out Melanesia also ; and even New Guinea, which, ten years ago, 
was an unknown land, has already received portions of the New 
Testament in the language spoken by at least one of its tribes. 

Considering the extremely volatile nature of these light-hearted 
people, the exceeding earnestness with which they seem to have 
entered into the requirements of a spiritual religion, is very re- 
markable. They had, however, been early trained to a belief 
in the necessity of whole-hearted attention, and reverence in the 
worship of their idols. It mattered not how large and costly 
might be the offerings, and how careful the ceremonial, should 
the priest omit, or even misplace, any word in the appointed 
prayers, or should his attention be diverted, the prayer was un- 

1 This is emphatically true of Fijian. See 'At Home in Fiji,' vol. i p. 136. 


availing ; other victims must be brought, and tlie whole ceremony 
repeated from the beginning. 

So, too, the rigid observance of the Jewish SabT)atical laws 
seemed a natural requirement to a people who, from their infancy, 
had been taught implicit obedience to the laws of tahu, or sacred 
seasons, when, at the bidding of priest or chief, no fire must be 
kindled, no canoe launched, and neither food nor drink might be 
tasted, under severest penalties. "When, therefore, the early mis- 
sionaries declared one day in seven to be strictly tabu, and them- 
selves gave the example by abstaining from every sort of secular 
employment, even preparing their own food on the previous day 
(which was hence called the mahana maa, or food-day), the natives 
willingly obeyed, and proved themselves capable of such close and 
continuous attention to spiritual subjects as the majority of Chris- 
tians nowadays would find wellnigh impossible. 

So, too, with the custom of saying grace before eating, which is 
so strictly practised by all the converts in Polynesia. It was the 
more readily adopted because, in heathen days, no morsel might 
pass the lips of any member of the family till the chief person 
present had offered a portion to the gods, adding a few words of 
prayer for their protection and blessing. In some instances they 
chanted a form of thanksgiving for the good things received, as 
being the gift of the gods. 

I have written this story of old days somewhat at length, from 
a conviction that it is probably almost iinknown to you, and must 
surely prove interesting, though I am fully aware that it cannot be 
so to you in the same degree as it is to me, who have heard the 
story for the first time on the very spot where those terrible scenes 
were formerly enacted, and where the marvellous change was actu- 
ally wrought. 

310 A lady's cruise. 



Chez Madame Brck, Papetoai, 
Monday Night. 

Another long day in scenes of dream-like loveliness. Early as 
I always awaken, the little trio were astir before me, waiting in 
their bathing-dresses to escort me to the shore, dancing joyously 
as sunbeams, and most carefully pioneering my path through the 
shallow water, so as to avoid the very unpleasant chance of tread- 
ing on sea-hedgehogs and other spiny creatures. There are so very 
few places in the isles where sea-bathing is altogether free from 
danger of sharks, that it is a luxury on which we rarely venture, 
and therefore appreciate it all the more. 

Immediately after early chocolate, a friendly gendarme lent me 
his horse (I had brought my own saddle), and, not Avithout 
some cowardly qualms, I rode off alone in search of Madame 
VaUes's plantation. The road lay along the shore — a lovely grass 
path, overshadowed by aU manner of beautiful trees, of which the 
most conspicuous is here called the tamanu, an old acquaintance 
with a new name. In Fiji it is called ndelo. It is common not 
only throughout Polynesia but also in the East Indies, and in 

In all these lands this noble tree grows and flourishes, just 
above high -water mark, on what seems to us the most arid 
sandy shores, and outstretches its wide branches with their rich 
dark foliage, casting cool delicious shadows on the dazzling coral- 
sands, a boon to tired eyes, weary of the mid-day glare. 

It is a tree for the healing of the nations. Its large glossy 
leaves, when soaked in fresh water, are valuable in reducing in- 
flammation of the eyes ; and its round green fruit contains a small 
grey ball, within which lies a kernel, which yields about sixty per 
^ Calophyllum inophyllum. 


cent of a green-coloured bitter oil, worth about £90 a ton in the 
Anglo-Indian market. It is an invaluable remedy as a liniment in 
aU forms of rheumatism, rheumatic fever, bruises, stiffness, and 
simOar ailments. Throughout the isles its virtues are fully recog- 
nised, but it is only prepared in small quantities for domestic use, 
and stored by prudent householders, in hollow gourds, which are 
the correct substitute for bottles. The labour of expressing the oil, 
by any hand process, is so great as to prevent an extensive manu- 
facture ; and I am not aware that any machinery for this purpose 
has found its way to the Pacific, though it does seem a pity that 
so valuable a product should be wasted, as it now is. 

Wherever we go, in any of these isles, the sea-beach is strewn 
with myriads of these, and other seeds, some of which, such as the 
gigantic climbing-bean,^ have been washed down by the mountain 
streams ; while others, such as these grey balls, and the curious 
square-shaped seeds of the Barringtonia, in their outer case of 
nature-woven fibre, drop from the boughs which overhang the sea. 
The wliite blossom of the tamanu trees is both fragrant and orna- 
mental, and many a pleasant hour have I spent on many a lovely 
isle, alone (save for the omnipresent army of hermit crabs) beneath 
the shade of these grand trees, beside the cool blue waters of the 

I had no difficulty in finding Madame Valles's home — a lovely 
nest, perched high on the hillside, with a background of grey rock- 
pinnacles and crags. The house is embowered in greenery, and 
from its verandahs you look through a frame of pure scarlet 
hybiscus to the bluest of lagoons, divided from the purply ocean 
beyond by the line of gleaming white breakers which bound the 

M. Valles is at present very unwell, and quite a prisoner, so 
double work falls to the lot of Madame Valles, who has to do most 
of her own cooking and house-work, milk her own cow, and attend 
with unwearied care to that most precarious of all crops, vanilla. So 
you see that even in Moorea plantation life is not luxurious. 

The great difficulty here is to obtain labour ; and there is not 
1 Entada scandens. 


one regulai servant or labourer on this estate. Fifteen acres of 
coffee have all run wild, and grown into tail straggling bushes, 
from total lack of hands to tend it. As there is no one to 
gather the crop of ripe red coffee-cherries, they are left to drop, 
and the rats eat the soft fruit, leaving the beans untouched; so 
the family collect these, all ready pulped, and devoutly Avish the 
rats were ten times as numerous. 

But the most precious crop here is vanilla, which is both pretty 
and lucrative, being worth about four dollars a pound. It is a lux- 
uriant creeper, and grows so freely that a branch broken off and fall- 
ing on tlie ground takes root of its own accord ; and it climbs all 
over the tall coffee-shrubs, the palms, avocat pear and orange trees, 
and everything that comes in its Avay, growing best on living wood, 
the tendrils thence deriving sustenance. It also flourishes best in 
unweeded grounds, the roots being thereby kept cool. 

So the steep wooded hillside is densely matted with this fragrant 
spice, which scents the whole air, — indeed the atmosphere of the 
house is redolent of vanilla. It is like living in a spice-box, as the 
pods are laid to dry in every available corner. They must be 
gathered unripe, and dried in a moist warm place ; sometimes they 
are packed under layers of quilts to prevent them from bursting, 
and so losing their frago-ant essence. 

All this sounds very pleasant, and only suggests light work, yet 
in truth this cultivation involves most exhausting toil. The plant 
is an exotic ; it lives in these isles by the will of the planter, not 
by nature's law. In its native home exquisite humming-birds 
hover over its blossoms, therein darting their long bills in search of 
honey, and drawing them forth, clogged Avith the golden poUen, 
which they carry to the next flower, thus doing nature's work of 

Here the flowers have no such dainty wooers, and the A'anilla bears 
no fruit unless fertilised by human hand. So M. and Madame 
Yalles, and their son, divide the steep hillside into three sections, 
and each morning they patiently but wearily toil up and down, up 
and down, again, and again, and again, in order to manipulate each 
blossom t]:at has expanded during the night. " Faire le mariage 


des fleurs," as Madame Valles describes her daily task, is no sine- 
cure ; it must be done during the hottest hours of the day, when 
any exertion is most exhausting. It needs a keen eye to detect 
each fresh blossom, and any neglected flower withers and drops. 
Each day the ripening pods must be gathered, and in dry weather 
the plants require frequent watering — an indescribable toil. 

This morning Madame Valles let me accompany her on her 
morning rounds, whereby I realised that toil and hardship are to 
be found even in paradise. 

We returned to breakfast, which was served by an old French 
soldier — a garrulous old fellow, and evidently quite a "character." 
Apparently his life is a burden to him, by reason of the multitude 
of half -tamed animals which swarm about the place. In the 
dining-room were three old and six young cats ; two large, three 
medium, and many small dogs, — all hungrily clamouring for food, 
and only kept ofl" the table by the free use of a large, resounding 

In the afternoon M. Brun came in search of me, and we rode to 
the head of the bay, where there is a beautiful estate, and large 
comfortable house, built many years ago by an English planter, who 
failed, and the place was bought by Dr Michelli, an Italian, who 
chanced just then to be conveying a cargo of Chinese coolies to 
Peru. So many died on the voyage that he determined to halt at 
Tahiti, and give the survivors time to recruit. Finding this very 
desirable property in the market, he concluded that the part of 
wisdom was to go no further. So here he settled with about fifty 
("hinamen, who work the land and give him a third of the profits, 
while he rides about the mountains, and shoots wild cattle for their 
common use. 

His surroundings are somewhat polyglot. The cook is an Eng- 
lishman ; servants of various degree are Tahitian ; while the over- 
seer, M. Bellemare, is a French externe-politique, who was exiled for 
tiring 'at the late Emperor Louis Napoleon — a crime which the 
Emperor seems to have punished on the Biblical principle of heap- 
ing coals of fire, in the form of unmerited reward ; for during his 
lifetime M. Bellemare received a regular pension and lived on the 

3U A lady's cruise. 

fat of the land — a clemency which certainly failed to awaken one 
thrill of gratitude in the would-be assassin. The pension having 
expired with the death of the Emperor, M. Bellemare has been 
obliged to seek remunerative occupation, Avhich he has here 

Tuesday, llth. 

Again a delightful sea-bathe, followed by real French chocolate, 
and then the charming little trio constituted themselves my guides, 
and led me by difficult, and to me undiscernible paths, over the 
wooded hills, and through la hrovsse, which consists of dense 
guava scrub, to various points, from which we obtained lovely 
views of the harbour. The walk involved an amount of severe 
scrambling which, even to me, was somewhat trying; but the 
children skipped along over rock and crag like young kids, only 
pausing, with charmingly pretty manners, to see if I required their 
aid, and bringing me all manner of treasures of fruit and flowers. 

I fear no description can possibly convey to your mind a true 
picture of the lovely woods through Avhich we wander just where 
fancy leads us, knowing that no hurtful creature of any sort lurks 
among the mossy rocks or in the rich undergrowth of ferns. Here 
and there we come on patches of soft green turf, delightfully sug- 
gestive of rest, beneath the broad shadow of some great tree with 
buttressed roots ; but more often the broken rays of sunlight gleam 
in ten thousand reflected lights, dancing and glancing as they shim- 
mer on glossy leaves of every form and shade — from the huge silky 
leaves of the wild plantain or the giant arum, to the waving palm- 
fronds, which are so rarely at rest, but flash and gleam like polished 
swords as they bend and twist with every breath of air. 

It has just occurred to me that probably you have no very 
distinct idea of the shape of a cocoa -palm leaf, which does not 
bear the slightest resemblance to the palmettos in the greenhouse. 
It consists of a strong mid-rib, about eight feet long, which, at the 
end next to the tree, spreads out, very much as your two clenched 
fists, placed side by side, do from your wrists. The other end 
tapers to a point. For a space of about two feet the stalk is bare; 


then along the remaining six feet a regiment of short swords, 
graduated from two feet to eighteen inches in length, are set close 
together on each side of the mid-rib. Of course the faintest stir 
of the leaf causes these multitudinous swordlets to flash in the 
sunhght. Hence the continual effect of glittering light, and also 
the extreme difficulty of securing a good photograph of a cocoa- 

A little lower than these tall queens of the coral-isles, rise fairy- 
like canopies of graceful tree-ferns, often festooned with most deli- 
cate lianas; and there are places where not these only, but the 
larger trees, are literally matted together by the dense growth of 
the beautifid large-leaved white convolvulus, or the smaller lilac 
ipomeea, which twmes round the tall stems of the palms, and over- 
spreads the light fronds, like some green w^aterfall. Many of the 
larger trees are clothed with parasitic ferns ; huge bird's-nest ferns 
grow in the forks of the branches, as do various orchids, the dainty 
children of the mist, so that the stems are wellnigh as green as 
everything else in that wilderness of lovely forms. It is a very 
inanimate paradise, however. I rarely see any birds or butterflies, 
only a few lizards and an occasional dragon-fly ; and the voice of 
singing-birds, such as gladden our hearts in humble English woods, 
is here mute — so we have at least this compensation, for the lack 
of all the wild luxuriance which here is so fascinating. 

I wonder if a time will ever come when these fairy isles shall 
have passed through changes as marvellous as those which geolo- 
gists teach us to trace in Old England, 

Have you ever fuUy realised that " once upon a time " all the 
strange beautiful plants which we call tropical, were growing in 
rank luxuriance on English soil? I believe that the curious 
diapered stem of the quaint papawa is one of our common fossil 
forms. In Dr Buckland's museum at Oxford, I remember seeing 
unmistakable fruit of a screw -pine (pandanus) found in the Oolite, 
near Charmouth. As to the London Clay, the Isle of Sheppey 
seems wholly composed of relics of tropical plants, turtles, serjients, 
and shells, now unknown save in these warm isles. I have seen 
a drawing of the section of a fossil fruit found there, which might 

316 A lady's CliUISE. 

have teen made from a split bread-fruit ; also nuts greatly re- 
sembling those of the cocoa and areca palms. The custard-apple 
is found there, and the dracrona and yucca, and many another 
tropical leaf and fruit. Would that they grew there now ! 

Picture to yourself a time when the bleak Northumbrian coast 
was a forest lilce one of these, and the coals, of which we now so 
gladly heap up blazing fires, were all beautiful ferns and palms, 
waving in the warm sunlight ! Truly it is hard to realise. Even 
the dragon-flies and lizards of those antediluvian, forests are pre- 
served, and spiders and scorpions. As to the chalk and lias and 
limestone, they give us sponges and corals and zoophytes enough 
to build up any number of coral-reefs ; and there are great turban 
echini Avith heavy spines, like those we find here, and star-fish 
innumerable, and teeth and vertebree of sharks and ray. 

So that there really was a time when Old England must have 
been as fascinating as any South Sea isle. "What she may have 
been in the days of the mammoth and megatherium, and all the 
gruesome race, restored for our edification at the Crystal Palace, is 
quite another matter ; the very idea is suggestive of nightmare ! 

Wednesday, I2th Dec. 

This has been a grey stormy day, with heavy showers, but as 
Tfv Michelli had promised to escort me up the valley to the foot of 
the mighty crags, I could not lose so good an opportunity ; and 
indeed such solemn mountain scenes only borrow fresh grandeur 
from the gloom, so that I almost prefer a stormy leaden sky for 
such an expedition ; besides, it is no small gain to have a veiled 
sun, as its full rays, when refracted by the black trap dikes, make 
the ascent somewhat of a toil. 

The friendly gendarme again lent me his horse to ride to the 
head of the harbour, Avhere the Doctor had other steeds ready for 
the mountain. Unfortunately he himself was unwell, and so was 
obliged to commit me to the care of the externe-politlque, who ful- 
filled his trust admirably, though I confess that it gave me some- 
thing of an eerie feeling to find myself at a height of 2000 feet 


above my fellow-men, sitting quietly sketching among black crags 
and floating mists, alone with a would-be murderer, who, glorying 
in his shame, entertained me at great length with a most animated 
description of the whole story, nor spared me one of his poignant 
regrets at the failure of his vile attempt. 

The scenery on every side was magnificent. Huge indigo- 
coloured mountain-masses looming out awfully through the float- 
ing cloud-wreaths — tremendous precipices — deep mysterious ravines 
— right above me towered a gigantic square-shaped mountain, and 
beyond it one vast pmnacle. You never can lose the impression 
of Cyclopean fortifications and watch-towers. The higher ridges 
are absolutely inaccessible ; but adventurous cragsmen sometimes 
find their way by tracks which wild goats would shun — narrow 
ledges by which they can creep along the face of a precipice, and 
so pass on to another ravine, or scramble from ledge to ledge with 
the help of ropes. " Le jeu vaut-il la chandelle 1 " I should 
say not. 

From the highest point we reached, I obtained a grand view of 
the valley, which lay bathed in sunlight, while we were shrouded 
in mountain gloom, with a storm fast gathering overhead. Far 
below us, beyond the orange-groves and the cultivated lands, lay 
the two harbours, Pao Pao and Opunohu — two calm lagoons lying 
to right and left of a mighty rock-pyramid, which is crowned with 
trap ridges, so narrow as here and there to have altogether worn 
away, leaving arches and apertures through which the sky is seen, 
as through the eye of a needle. . This is a common feature of the 
ridges which form the centre of this strange isle, and which are 
thus pierced in many places — a phenomenon duly accounted for 
in Tahitian legends by the spear-thrusts of certain demigods and 

- A few heavy rain-drops, with a prospect of abundance to follow, 
compelled me to abandon this splendid sketching - ground, and 
return to the lower world, where the Doctor awaited my return, 
to share an excellent breakfast, with all the delicacies of Moorea. 
One of these, which is perhaps unknown to you, is the Abercarder 
pear, or, as it is called iu India, " subaltern's liutter," a pear-shaped 

318 A lady's cruise. 

fruit, the size of a big man's fist. Within its green rind lies the 
softest melting pulp, really like vegetable butter, with a large round 
seed in the centre. This fruit is either eaten with pepper and salt, 
or else beaten up with lemon-juice and sugar ; and it is excellent 
in either form. The chief difTiculty is to secure it, as all animals 
have a passion for it; cows, horses, even dogs and cats, watch for 
the falling of the ripe fruit, and quickly despatch it. 

After breakfast I rode back here, and found my host and hostess 
just starting for the village, so I strolled along with them to see 
the big coral church, memorable as having been the first built in 
this group, a monument of early zeal, and a wonderful triumph of 
will over difficulties. But now, whether from diminished energy 
or decreased population I know not, the place is falling into dis- 
repair, and suggests retrogression. 

But the bird-cage homes of the people are charming, and the 
inmates are charming, and the brown-eyed olive-coloured babies, 
and their most careful little brothers and sisters, are especially 
attractive. To-day I have seen the loveliest baby I have ever yet 
met with. Of Italian and Tahitian parentage, it receives a double 
heritage of beauty, and the little Aurora is destined hereafter to 
take her place among the fairest maidens of Italy. 

Certainly children here have a very happy time of it. "\A'hat 
with idolising parents, and friends who seem always ready to play 
with them, their only danger lies on the side of excessive spoiling. 
And yet, in heathen days, the Tahitians were as noted for infanti- 
cide as the Sandwich Islanders, — with the one difference that here, 
the poor little unwelcome guests were disposed of at the very 
moment of their birth, and if spared for even a few minutes they 
were generally saved; whereas in Hawaii, the system of child- 
murder was much more deliberate. 

The extent to which it was practised in both groups makes one 
marvel how the isles failed to be wholly depopulated. Though 
offspring were generally numerous, few parents cared to rear more 
than three children ; a man with four was looked upon as a taata 
tauhuu buu — that is, a man with a heavy burden. The majority 
of Tahitian women in pagan days spoke openly, and without the 


slightest shame, of having put to death half-a-dozen helpless inno- 
cents, while some confessed to ten or twelve ; and when the mis- 
sionaries and their Avives implored these women to spare their little 
ones, yet unborn, their words were heard with derision, and the 
cruel mothers would return to boast how they had obeyed the 
custom of the isles, in defiance of white men's counsel. 

Afterwards, when these same women had become Christians, 
they would come to the school festivals, at which were sometimes 
gathered several hundred happy children, whose lives had been 
spared in obedience to a better law ; and often, with bitter tears, 
did these childless mothers bewail their own dead offspring, 
murdered by their own hands. At one such meeting, a venerable 
chief arose to address the people, and show, by contrast with the 
past, how great was their present gain. Pointing to a troop of 
comely lads and lasses, he said : " Large was my family, but I alone 
remain. I am the father of nineteen children ; all of them I have 
murdered : now my heart longs for them. Had I spared them, 
they would now have been men and women, knowing the word of 
the true God. But all died in the service of the false gods, and 
now my heart is repenting — is weeping for them." 

One of the chief women, Avho, having learnt to read at the age 
of sixty, had proved a most useful school-teacher, was bitterly 
troubled in the liour of death by the thought of her sixteen children, 
every one of whom she had herself put to death. But there was 
scarcely a woman who had attained middle age ere the spread of 
Christianity, who was not haunted by the same sad memories ; and 
one visitor to Tahiti has recorded his amazement when, on his 
expressing his belief that statements had been exaggerated, his 
friend appealed to three most respectable, motherly-looking women, 
who chanced to be sitting in the room quietly sewing, and quite at 
random, asked each in turn how many of her children she had 
killed. With shame and evident pain, the first, with faltering 
voice, replied, " I have destroyed nine ; " the second said she had 
killed five ; the third had killed seven. So that these three women 
casually selected, had killed twenty-one children ! 

It seems scarcely credible that such deeds were perpetrated by 

320 A lady's cruise. 

the same race whom we now see so gentle and loving ; but heathen- 
ism always tended to cruelty. 

In nothing was this more apparent tlian in tlie treatment of the 
sick. Generally speaking, the best a sick man could hope for was 
simple neglect. As soon as it was evident that his illness would 
be protracted, a liut of cocoa-palm leaves was built for him at a little 
distance, and he was carried there. For a while he was supplied 
with food and drink ; but his friends soon grew careless, and so 
often forgot him, that he very probably died of starvation. Should 
he be possessed of property coveted by his neighbours, he was 
very likely murdered with the most wanton barbarity. His 
" friends " having determined on his death, proceeded to his hut, 
armed with their spears ; and, unheeding of his cries for mercy, 
they treated him as a target, trying who could take best aim, till 
at length some one, more merciful than the others, rushed in and 
pierced him through the heart. 

At other times the sick were buried alive. Their relations dug 
a pit, and then, pretending that they Avould carry the sufferer to 
the river to bathe, they threw him into the ready-made grave, and 
drowned his cries by quickly throwing in stones and earth. Some- 
times the victim perceived what was in store for him, and en- 
deavoured to escape; but he Avas invariably captured by his 
murderers, and carried to his untimely grave. 

Almost the first great change wrought by Christianity was in the 
care of the sick, who now are nursed with the utmost tenderness, 
the natives having, many years ago, formed themselves into societies 
for the express purpose of building houses, where the aged and 
helpless, who have no friends or children to tend them at home, 
may be fed and clothed, and comforted by the ministrations of 
Christian teachers. 

In one respect, the people of Tahiti, like those of Samoa, proved 
superior to most other Pacific islanders. There is no evidence 
of their having ever been cannibals. While their neighbours in 
the Paumotus and the Marquesas, in the Hervey Isles and New 
Zealand, and in nearly every group throughout the "Western Pacific, 
never lost a chance of feasting on human flesh, these gentler savages, 


like tliose of Samoa, do not seem to have been tempted by tlie 
hideous fare. They contented themselves with heaping insult on 
the bodies of the slain, which were often brutally mutilated. 

Nothing amazes me more than to hear travellers and others 
occasionally talk with positive regret of the work of missionaries of 
all denominations, throughout these various groups of isles. To 
hear them speak, you would suppose that the natives, in their 
untutored state, were the most innocent, loving, and attractive of 
mortals. Surely such men can know nothing of the past, and of 
the dangers incurred by the early teachers, to whose earnest labours 
in the beginning of the present century those ungrateful talkers 
owe their own present safety. But even in those days the worst 
dangers and the most virulent opposition encountered by the mis- 
sionaries were almost invarialjly stirred up by iniquitous white men 
— generally sailors and shipmasters.-*- 

Certainly the Tahitians, as we now see them, are as gentle and 
affectionate as it is possible for a people to be. Most kind and 
hospitable, always cheerful and good-natured, easily pleased and 
amused, finding matter for mirth in every trifle ; so that angry 
words or recriminations are rarely heard, but rather a sound of 
rippling laughter, which seems here to pervade the very air. A 
messenger is just going across to Tahiti to take letters, and to fetch 
any that maj' have arrived by the schooner from San Francisco. I 
shall send this as a postscript to my last, which will probably 
reach you at the same time. — So good-bye. 

Your Lovixg Sister. 

1 If any are disposed to doubt tliis statement, tliey have only to refer to the 
circumstantial and thoroughly authenticated accounts published by the various 
hiissionary societies ; those, for instance, of the American Board, which again and 
again, in the early days of the mission to the Sandwich Isles, have occasion to 
refer to the outrages committed by British and American seamen, who came in 
armed bands to attack the mission stations, in their rage at the influence acquired 
by the missionaries, and the consequent change in the morals of the people. Again 
and again life and jiroperty were threatened, and the mission premises were only 
saved from destruction by the timely arrival of determined chiefs and their re- 

322 A lady's cruise. 

C II A 1* T K R XXI I. 



Fkknch Mission, Papetoai, Salanlay Sight. 

Tliis lias been a glorious day of uncloiulcd sunlight, and in order 
that 1 might enjoy it to the full, my kind hosts planned a family 
])i("nic on the other side of the bay. There was no available boat, 
only a tiny canoe, so we crossed in several detachments, till all 
W(!re safely landed on tlie opposite shore, where we established 
ourselves beneath the shade of some noble iron-wood trees, whence 
the view of towering mountains, laughing valley, and blue waters 
was so entrancing, that I at once settled down to sketch, while 
tlie little ones disported themselves in the shallow waters, therein 
capturing small crabs, and sea-urchins, and many other treasures, 
till the kindling of a hre, and preparation of our gipsy breakfast, 
allbrded them fresh occupation and delight. 

What a pleasant feast they spread on the briny grass, and Avith 
wliat hospitality they ministered to our numerous self-invited 
guests, the hermit-crabs ! Less welcome were the inevitable mos- 
([uitoes, but to-day there was sufficient breeze to disperse them in a 
great measure ; and after breakfast we wandered along the shore, 
and tin; strange lady from Beretania was introduced to the gentle 
inmates of many a bird-cage home ! 

Oh dear, hcnv fascinating is this simple, kindly, island life! 
Each day leaves me more and more captivated by the loveliness of 
these isles of paradise, where onr eyes always rest on some scene of 
beauty, wherever they turn. Each halting-place seems more charm- 
ing than the last, and the only sorrow is having to leave it, to pass 
(in to another, which in its turn becomes as attractive. Each week 
makes me wonder more how I shall ever be able to settle down to 
a humdrum existence in well-appointed English houses, with their 
r(!giments of fine servants, and wearisome conventionalities of social 

iiA.vriTL 323 

life ! I vote that, instead of mj' having to do so, yon should come 
out here and learn what true enjoyment means. 

But, alas ! my days in Moorea are for the present drawing to a 
close, for on our return this evening I found kind letters from Mrs 
Brander and from the governor, M, D'Oncieue, telling me of the 
arrival of H.M.S. Shah, and requesting that, as a good British sub- 
ject, I woidd hasten back to share in the festivities to be lield in 
her honour. 

Suaddii Evening. 

A morning of peaceful delight on the silent shore, and a long 
afternoon stroll by myself, to drink in deep draughts of never-to- 
be-forgotten enjoyment, of one of the loveliest spots in all this fiiir 
creation. We had planned various pleasant expeditions for this 
week, but it seems best to defer them ; so I am to leave my bag- 
gage here to take its chance of following me, and I am to ride to 
the other side of the island, whence it is probable that a boat may 
go across to Papeete witliin a day or two. 

Haapiti, Isle Moore,\, Moiidaij Niijht. 

Bidding a provisional farewell to ray charming hostess and my 
little guides, I started in the fresh early morning, accompanied by 
M. Brun. The whole ride was exrpiisite, though in places the 
beautiful forest has suffered from ruthless carelessness, and many 
splendid old iron-wood trees stand scathed and half-burnt by 
accidental fires. On our arrival here, the big man of the village 
welcomed us to his house, and gave us breakfast. 

You may remember that it was at this place that Mrs Brander, 
in her character of high-chiefess of the isle, gave such a pictures(pio 
welcome to the young king and queen. To-day the district was in 
its normal condition of quiet — no crowds, no himenes, no feasting, 
save and except the fatted fowl which perished on our arrival. 
Only the natural beauty remained, unchanged and unsurjiassable. 
I cannot believe that even the Marquesas can be more; beautiful, 
nor yet the nearer isle of Bora-Bora, of which the Tahitians speak 
as of a marvel of loveliness, with its towering rock -pinnacles and 

324 A lady's cuuise. 

lofty crags, so veiled ■with trailing vines as to resemble green 

After breakfast we got a canoe and rowed back for a consider- 
able distance along the shore to a fine old marae — an immense 
platform of huge blocks of hewn coral, on a pyranadal base, which 
in olden days Avas a heathen altar, and also a tomb. Close by it 
are two smaller inarais and a large sacrificial stone, enclosed by a 
wall of sn)all coral-blocks. The Avhole place is overgrown by grand 
old iron-wood trees (casiiarina). After Ave had left it, Ave Avere 
told of a stone image, four or five feet high, Avhich has somehow 
escaped the general destruction of its felloAvs ; and I Avas very sorry 
to have missed seeing so interesting a sui-vivor of a past so recent 
and yet so thoroughly extinguished. 

This is the only itiarae I have seen, the majority having been 
destroyed, together Avith the temples and the altars, when the 
people, in the zeal of first love, endeaA^oured to SAveep aAvay every 
trace of the old idolatry. 

Mr Ellis has recorded that one huge marae liaA'ing been de- 
stroyed, the natives used the stones composing it to build an 
immense jilatform, on AAdiich Avas spread a great feast for all the 
children of the school (both boys and girls, in number about 240) 
and their parents. The point of interest lay in the fact that in 
heathen times it Avould have been death for a girl or a Avoman to 
set foot in the marae, or to taste the food Avhich Avas there offered. 
Indeed all the better sorts of food, such as pig and foAvl, Avere 
reserved exclusively for the men and the gods ; and the fire with 
Avhich men's food Avas cooked was also sacred; no Avoman dared to 
use it — her simpler fare must be cooked apart, and eaten in a 
separate hut. So a united festival, such as that held on the ruins 
of the marae, Avas in every sense a Christian love-feast, and strange- 
ly in contrast Avith the hideous scenes previously enacted on the 
spot, Avhon the coral-Avalls Avere dyed Avith the blood of human 
victims offered to the cruel Avar-gods, and Avliero, in cvcny crevice 
of the nolile old trees, Avere seen bleaching human bones, skeletons 
hanging fi-om the boughs, and beneath them, ghastly heaps of 
skulls, generally those of Avarriors slain in battle.] 

< (T 



These horribly unfragrant marais were also considered as family 
mausoleums, where the dried bones of great men might safely be 
deposited. Xevertheless, even the sanctity of the temple did not 
always protect the dead from ruthless spoliation ; and in times of 
war the victors not only carried off the idols of the vanquished, 
but also the bones of their relations, to be converted into chisels or 
fish-hooks, which was considered the lowest depth of degradation. 

To avoid tliis danger, the dead were laid in small houses apart, 
and carefully watched, till the flesh fell from their bones, when 
these were collected by a trusty hand, and carried to some safe 
hiding-place in the mountains. In the case of any person of great 
note, this custom is still observed, as I learnt on visiting the little 
sea-side chapel where old Queen Pomare was buried shortly before 
my arrival ; and I was told her bones had been secretly removed, 
only three or four of her nearest kindred being aware of their 
present hiding-place. 

In olden days, however, a simple process of embalming was 
practised, by means of which the wealthier families could preserve 
their dead for about a year, not longer. The brain and intestines 
having been removed, they were replaced by cloth saturated with 
aromatic oils, which Avere also daily rubbed all over the corpse. 
Every day it was placed in a sitting posture in the sun, that it 
might gradually become dried up ; and an altar was erected before 
it, on which M^ere daily offered fresh flowers, and fruit, and other 
food. With this the relations or priests touched the lips of the 
dead several times a-day, for, like the Chinese, they averred that 
the departed spirit came to feast on the spiritual essence ^ of the 
gross meats. 

Indeed the whole ceremony savours of Chinese custom. There 

1 The gods also were supposed to feed on the essence of the food offered to tliein. 
Every evening the jiriest in the principal temple of Mangaia cooked an ovenful of 
t(iro for tlieir use, and threw one root at a tiuie into the scrub, dedicating each to 
one of the gods. When the thirteen princijtal deities had thus been recognised the 
])riest threw one more, as an offering to all the lesser gods, of whose names and 
attributes he was ignorant. This ceremony exactly answers to one which I have 
seen practised at the Buddhist monasteries in China, where, ere the monks tasfe 
tlieir own food, a small portion is set aside on a pillar, as an uflering to any saintly 
or divine beings whom they have neglected in the;r temple-worship. 


Avas the samn passionate ceremonial wailin;^ for the dead, the same 
sort of religious service to appease the inuiuiet spirit, and prevent 
it from returning to earth to annoy the survivors. In place of 
liurning paper effigies of liorses, and houses, and other things likely 
to be useful in the spirit-world, the Tahitian priest placed about 
the corpse pieces of the stalk of the mountain-plantain, and told 
the dead that these were its parents, its wife, its children, and that 
with these it must be satisfied, and refrain from vexing the living. 

Here likewise, as in the Chinese cities of the dead, small low 
houses were built as temporary homes for the unburied corpses, 
which were laid on biers, and by day Avere drawn out into the sun ; 
but by night the body lay horizontally, and was frequently turned, 
lest it should dry irregularly. AVlien, notwithstanding all care, 
the poor body began to decay, then the skull was wrapped in cloth, 
and carried home to be preserved with the family gods, and duly 
worshipped. The bones were either buried or carried ofl' to the 
mountains in the mysterious way I have already described. 

Although the Tahitian embalmers failed to preserve their dead 
for more than a year, the Samoans seem to have been more success- 
ful, though, apparently, only a limited number of the chiefs were 
thus honoured. Dr Turner, however, has seen bodies which had 
certainly' been embalmed for upwards of thirty years, and were still 
in excellent preservation, when, on the death of the relations Avhose 
task it was to dress and tend the bodies, all were laid together 
beneath the sod. The office of embalmer was an exclusively 
feminine one, and the process observed in Samoa was exactly the 
same as that practised in Tahiti, The body was wrapped in native 
cloth, leaving the head, face, and hands exposed ; these were 
occasionally anointed with scented oil and turmeric, to give a life- 
like tinge to the complexion, and so were exhibited to all comers. 

I spoke of the wailing at funerals as ceremonial, because it was 
not only customary to weep frantically, rending the hair, tearing 
the garments, and uttering agonising cries, but it was also de 
rhpiOM)' to display sympathy by inflicting on one's self very serious 
wounds with instruments made for the ])urpose. Several rows of 
.shark's teeth were fixed in small canes, and with these the mourners 


smote their breasts, their heads, even their faces. One of these 
useful implements formed part of a girl's bridal trousseau, that she 
might be ready to take her part in whatever scene of sorrow or of 
joy might present itself. For, strange to say, the same ceremonies 
were observed, though in a less excessive degree, to mark great 
happiness ; and the safe return of a member of the family, or his 
escape from danger, was, ami still is, marked by the shedding of 
Avhat might be mistaken for bitter tears. Happily, however, the 
horrible custom of cutting and bruising one's own liesh is a thing 
of the past ; and friends no longer express sympathy with the 
bereaved by giving them strips of tcq^pa saturated in the blood 
thus voluntarily shed, to be preserved as i)recious memorials of 
affection ! 

The one pleasant feature connected with the riuircm, as with so 
many forms of heathen worship, was the beautiful grove of old 
trees which surrounded them. Difierent tribes adopted special 
trees as clan badges, and planted these round their family shrines. 
Thus some were overshadowed by huge Ijanyan-trees, others by the 
noble tamanu, or native mahogany ; and others, again, were distin- 
guished from afar by the gorgeous Ijlossoms of the coral-tree,^ 
which dripped its blood-red petals on the altars below it. This 
beautiful tree is almost imperishable ; but unluckily it shared in 
the fate of too many of those sacred temple trees, which were 
ruthlessly cut down by the early converts, in their iconoclastic 
zeal. Xow the mournful casuarina (the nolio-noko of Fiji), with 
its dark hair-like drooping needles, is almost the only distinctive 
foliage which marks the resting-place of the dead. 

We lingered at this weird and horribly suggestive spot till the 
evening, and as we rode back to Haapiti, the crags and pinnacles 
towered in purple majesty against a background of luminous gold, 
and on(^ divided ray from the setting sun threaded the eye of the 
great rock-needle. Later, when the moon had risen, we went to 
the village to see the native minister, who is going to Papeete to- 
morrow, and has agreed to give me a i)assage in his boat. We are 
to start early, so I must now have a sleep. Besides, the mosquitoes 
^ Erythmm corallodendnnn. 


are troublesome, and the only refuge from them is beneath my 
nets. So goud-niglit. 

La Maison Rouce, Papeete, 
December ISth. 

Once more I find myself " at home " beneath this hospitable 
roof. AVe started at daybreak and rowed leisurely along the lovely 
coast to Afareaitu (the place where I told you that Mr Ellis, the 
early missionary, established his first printing-press). At a short 
distance further we came to Xuupuru, where we landed to explore 
another great iiiarae, likewise overgrown with casuarina and palm- 
trees. It stands on the coral-shore, which there, as in most parts 
of the isles, is shaded by dark trees with wide-spreading branches. 
Just behind this huge coral-altar, rises a gigantic rock-needle — a 
cyclopean natural monolith, such as might have accounted for the 
position of the altar, in lands where nature - worship prevailed, 
which, however, does not appear to have been the case in these 

Here we left the friendly shelter of the reef and passed into the 
outer ocean. Happily a fair breeze favoured us, and we entered 
Papeete harbour soon after noon. Great was the amazement of 
my native friends as they realised the huge proportions of H.M.S. 
Shah, probably the largest ship ever seen in these waters. I 
believe she weighs about 7000 tons. Certainly she makes all the 
other vessels in harbour look like pigmies. The little Daring is 
only 700 tons; Le Limier, 1000; and my trusty old ship Le 
Seignelay, 2000. The Shah carries nearly 700 men and 50 
officers, so England is well represented. My boatman rowed 
right under her bows, the better to estimate her vast size. 

On landing, I found that Mrs Brander and all the family had 
moved back to town on account of the arrival of so important a 
vessel, which, of course, involves much work for the house of 
Brander. I had just time to feed, change my dress, and accom- 
l)any my hostess to the palace to " assist " at the king's state 
reception of Admiral I)e Horsey and his suite, which, of course, 
was as stiff as stiff could be. We had a pleasant evening, how- 
ever, at the baud. Lovely full moonlight. 


The Red House, FritUiy, 2lst. 

Papeete is surpassing itself in its graceful liospitalities. On 
Wednesday, jSI. D'Oncieue had a very large reception cm Gouverne- 
mcnf, and the French admiral's band played " God save the 
Queen" as the British admiral entered. To you, doubtless, that 
conveys little, but to a stranger in a far land it means much. 
To me, who had not heard the grand old air since I left Australia, 
more than two years ago, it was most thrilling music, for you have 
no idea how patriotic we become when we reach the antipodes ! 

The French and English bands played alternately the whole 
night, and as all the ships were (for once) well represented, and 
all the dancing world of Papeete present, in their happiest mood 
and prettiest toilets, it was a most successful ball, and well kept 
up. The lovely moonlight drew all the non-dancers to the gardens, 
much to the edification of the crowds assembled outside the rail- 
ing. I found several pleasant acquaintances among the new- 
comers, and many more proved to be " friends' friends " — a title 
which in these far countries means more than you dwellers in 
over-crowded Britain can possibly be expected to understand, 
though you may perhaps realise the unwonted pleasure of meeting 
so many real English gentlemen. 

The evening was far too beautiful for carriages, so the revellers 
dispersed on foot, to walk home by bowery streets or peaceful shore. 

Yesterday Mrs Brander gave us a startling proof of her skill in 
organising, and of the resources at her command. At the gov- 
ernor's ball it suddenly occurred to her to invite all present to a 
great native feast on the following day, at her country home. At 
daybreak she started to commence preparations, on a scale which, 
in most hands, would have involved a week's hard labour. Mes- 
sengers were despatched in every direction to collect fowls, turkeys, 
sucking-pigs, vegetables, fruit, &c., &c. A party Avas told off to 
build a green bower in which to spread the feast. Glass, crockery, 
silver, and wines had to be brought from the lied House and the 
store ; for the ordinary service required for even so large a party as 
habitually assemble at Fautawa would not go far among such a 
multitude as were invited to this impromptu gatheiing. 

330 A lady's CHUisr:. 

Still the quostioii was undecided how the <;uests were to aiinisc 
themselves, as feeding could not last all the evening. Happily 
Captain IJcHlford came ashore to see my portfolio, and I ventured 
to ask if the hand might come to Fautawa — a favour which was 
cordially granted, and 1 was able to drive off to Fautawa as the 
bearer of this excellent news. In less than no time, the large 
drawing-room was cleared for dancing, tlu! wide verandahs gaily 
decorated Avith Chinese lanterns, and an admirable ball-room was 
prepared. It was all like a transformation scene, and accomplished 
so quietly. It would not be so remarkable in a large European 
house, with a full complement of carefully drilled servants ; but 
here there really are no servants, properly so called, oidy friendly 
" helps." Certainly every one worked with a will on this occasion, 
and all was ready ere the arrival of the first carriage, full of 

The carriages, like everything else, bore testimony to JNlrs 
P>rander's thoughtful and generous care. She provided convey- 
ance for every one, from the English admiral and French governor 
down to the smallest middy. Of course her own stable could not 
supply the demand, so every available trap was hired, and plied to 
and fro over the three miles, till all the guests were duly as- 
sembled. You will allow that this was a truly Tahitian phase of 

So also was the kind forethought which provided towels and a 
new ^jareo for every guest who cared to bathe in the lovely river — 
an invitation which few, if any, refused ; so that a succession of 
joyous parties soon found their way to all the best pools, and 
therein revelled. 

By the time the stragglers reassembled, a multitude of gay 
wreaths had been prepared by the Tahitian maidens, and all the 
guests were duly crowned. Some of the English officers were 
slightly taken aback by this unwonted decoration, but all sub- 
mitted meekly ; and we then marched in procession to the house 
of feasting, wdiich was erected on the softest green turf, not far 
from the brook. It was a long building, consisting of a slight 
framework of bamboos, just sufficiently strong to support a thatch 


of plaited cocoa-palm leaves ; wliile for pillars, strong yoimg 
Laiianas were transplanted bodily, their broad cool leaves making 
a lovely canopy of freshest green. The golden leaves of the 
dracaena were strung together to form deep fringes and festoons 
along the rafters; Avhile a still deeper fringe, carefully i)repared 
from the fibre of hybiscus bark, and dyed pale yellow, Avas fes- 
tooned all round the whole building. There must have been many 
hundred yards of this. Just think of the labour of preparing it ! 
That, of course, had been done at leisure. 

In lieu of a table-cloth, fresh green bananadeaves were spread 
upon the grass down the centre of the building, and on these were 
laid all manner of good things, in dishes made of plaited leaves. 
Dainty little sucking-pigs, turkeys, and various preparations of 
chicken, were, as usual, the foundation of the feast. These had 
been brought in hot haste from Mrs Brander's farm ; while fish 
and all manner of Crustacea seemed to have arrived by magic from 
the depths of the sea, the mountain streams, the mangrove-shore, 
and the coral-reef — each had sent its contribution. The delicious 
white icurrali, and their red relations, the cray-fish and lobsters, 
were there — shrimps and prawns, living and cooked, to suit all 
tastes. Raw fish and cooked fish, each with appro])riate sauce ; 
shell-fish of various sorts, including the delicate little oysters from 
the isthmus. Fruits of all sorts, mangoes and melons, strawberries, 
oranges, and bananas ; yams, taro, and kutiudn — i.e., sweet potatoes 
— and sundry other vegetables. 

The obnoxious national drink of the South Seas, made from the 
chewed root of kava, alias yangona, seems to have quite disappeared 
in Tahiti, and sweet young cocoa-nuts supplied the only native 
drink ; but these were supplemented by many a brimming bumper 
of the best foreign wines, and champagne flowed like water. 
Thanks to the graceful unaffected courtesy with which Xarii and 
Ariipaca Salmon, and several of the ladies of the family, themselves 
waited on all their guests, all went off admirably ; every one was 
well cared for, and mirth and laughter reigned on all sides. Some 
of the naval guests, however, were not so well accustomed, as an; 
all the rest of us, to sitting curled up on the line mats, which were 

332 A lady's cruise. 

spread for tlie guests all roinul the leafy table ; and so obviously 
uncomfortable were some of the senior officers, that the kind- 
heartetl ladies took pity on their foreign friends, and brought piles 
of cushions and pillows, to raise them ; but as they could not raise 
the tables also, I fear that some of the gentlemen must have voted 
dining a VindUj('iie rather a serious efr<:)rt. 

I should have mentioned that in " setting the table," a pile of 
large bread-fruit leaves are laid before each person to act as plates, 
and to be changed as often as may be desired. Also, in lieu of 
tumblers, wine-glasses, and cruet-stands, each guest is provided 
with a half cocoa-nut shell, full of drinking water, and one of 
milk, a third with chopped cocoa-nut, and a fourth with salt water. 
The two latter are mixed together to make a sauce in which to dip 
the good things that are coming. This done, the fourth shell is 
tilled with fresh water to act as a finger-glass. Half a bread-fruit, 
nicely cooked, is laid beside each place in lieu of bread. I fear, if 
I must confess the truth, that certain dainties in the Avay of creams 
and jellies, and tipsy-cakes, such as wei'e not common in Tahiti in 
the days of Captain Cook, did find their way to our leafy bower, 
and Avere by no means despised. 

Afterwards the band took up a good position outside the house, 
and a right merry dance ensued. As the gentlemen considerably 
outnumbered the ladies, great satisfaction was expressed when two 
very lady-like white girls suddenly arrived, robed in loose white 
sacques, and of course crowned with flowers. These turned out to 
be two of the middies, who kept up their part admirably through- 
out the evening. 

The 8hah musters a first-rate theatrical corps, and they say they 
would gladly act for the amusement of their Tahitian friends, but 
unfortunately their stay is too short to admit of any such ploy. 

AYe are all going to lunch on board to-day. 

Friday Evening. 

We have had a very pleasant afternoon on the great ship. Soon 
after twelve we joined the royal party, for whom the admiral's 
barge was waiting, the blue jackets receiving the king with up- 

H.M.s. snAir. 333 

lifted oars. (I believe " tossed " is the correct expression.) He 
was treated througliout with full royal honours — twenty-one guns 
on arrival and departure, yards manned, marines and crew on 
parade, and all the officers in the agonies of full uniform, Avith 
which, however, they soon contrived to dispense. I think that 
as soon as Captain Bedford had got over his surprise at being 
asked by the queen where she might smoke, he realised that gold 
lace was superfluous ! Tahitian ladies can never be happy for long 
without tlieir cigarettes, and the queen has recently received a 
present of an enormous supply, which are fast disappearing in 
faint films of smoke ! 

Our first introduction was to a large, very tame, black bear, 
which the sailors captured as a baby on Vancouver's Isle, and 
which now plays with them like a very gentle big dog. It is a 
much nicer beast than the Eussian bears brought by the Liniier. 

We were formally conducted all over the huge ship, and duly 
wondered at the length of the lower deck, with the row of great 
guns on either side ; in short, we felt exceedingly proud of our 
British representative, and the French officers and their Peruvian 
friends kindly abstained from invidious comments on the recent 
" Huascar " aff"air, which had been freely discussed here before the 
arrival of the giant Shah. How all allusion to that pugnacious 
little vessel was studiously avoided, and everything connected with 
the big ship called forth a chorus of undivided admiration. 

King Ariiaue was requested to touch an electric battery, and 
quick as lightning a whole broadside went off. In like manner 
Queen Marau fired a torpedo, which threw up the water in a 
gigantic fountain. We went through the ward-room, the large 
airy gun-room, and the officers' daintily fitted-up cabins, exquisite 
in their neatness. The admiral has a most charming bedroom, 
drawing-room, and dining-room. In the latter we sat down to 
luncheon, about twenty-four persons, including the commanders of 
the other vessels. 

Wlien we returned on deck we found it transformed into a 
Inilliant ball-room, all draped with flags, and full of people from 
Papeete. As we looked down from the upper decks and bridge, 

334 A lady's cruise. 

a prettier scene could not be iniagincil. Tlie dancing f<ilk did 
dance to their hearts' content ; and those wlio, like myself, hold 
tlie Eastern creed, tliat all sucli hard "work sliould be done by 
])roxy, held possession of the liigher levels, and sometimes varied 
the picture l)y turning to the beautiful panorama on every side of 
tlie harbour. To rest the band, there Avere two interludes, "when 
the sailors danced hornpipes, and sang capital songs "with choruses, 
Avhich some of us enjoyed so much that Ave would fain have pro- 
longed the concert. Unfortunately the king was tired of the 
proceedings, and wanted to hurry through the dances for Avhich 
the queen had already engaged herself ; so the singing was soon 
stopped, and the ball resumed till the sun had almost set behind 
Moorea, bathing its mountains in dreamy gold. A few minutes 
later the island stood out in clear-cut lilac, floating between a sea 
and sky of pale daffodil. Then we all returned ashore, and in the 
evening went to hear some himenes, specially got np for the edifica- 
tion of the strangers, who, however, by some unlucky misunder- 
standing, failed to appear. But as compared with those I had 
]jreviously heard, these were very poor himenes, and I was almost 
glad that they were not taken as samples of what those charming 
glees can be. 

To-nuirrow morning the little Daring sails for Honolulu and 
the gi-eat Shah for Valparaiso. Every one regrets so speedy a 
<leparture, but the admiral says he dares not risk remaining with 
700 Englishmen in this port, over Christmas Day, as it Avould be 
impossible to keep the men on board, with the tempting shore so 
close, and that if they once landed, some would inevitably get 
tlrunk, and have a row Avith the French authorities. Our good 
consul is evidently much relieved by this Avise, though unpopular 

It certainly is grievous that the jolly tars, of Avhom Britain is 
so justly i^roud, contrive to do such scant credit to their nation or 
themselves when they land in any foreign port. Here, for instance, 
day after day, among the croAvds Avho land on the shore just under 
niy verandah, I never hear a voice Avhich seems to be raised in 
anger, — all seem bright and happy. I Avish I could say the sounds 


are equally pleasant wlicn a party of British sailors go past ! Then 
the echoes that linger on the ear are sanguinary and repulsive ; a 
painful contrast to the musical speech of the natives. 

The Shah is fortunate in possessing, in the Rev. lieed, a 

chaplain who is exceedingly popular with all on board, and who 
takes an immense interest in all that concerns his flock. Besides 
the regular hand, he has trained one specially to accompany sacred 
music; and the church choir is said to be excellent. It would 
have been really pleasant to have heard our own Church service on 
(Christmas Day, By some fatality I have not had that privilege 
since leaving England ; last Christmas Day having been spent in 
the hateful work of transhipping on our way from Fiji to New 
Zealand ; and the previous one was spent in the mountains of great 
Fiji. It has been the same as regards Faster. We had to sail 
from ^Marseilles on Faster morning 1875. Faster of 1876 was 
.spent in a little Fijian village in tlie isle of Koro, and Faster 1877 
among the geysers of northern Xew Zealand. "VVliere tliey may 
next find me, who can tell 1 

I must close my letter that it may be sent on board the Daring 
at daybreak. The pretty Tahitian girls are Avorking all to-night to 
linish arrowroot or bamboo fibre hats as parting gifts to the friends 
whom they will probably never meet again. " Telle est la vie ! " 
— Good-ni^ht. Your Loving Sister, 



Fautawa, Tahiti, Christmas Day. 

A glad Christmas to you all, dear people ! AVould tliat some 
good fairy could lend me a wishing-cap, that I might look in by 
turns on each home gathering in the various corners of Fngland 
and Scotland. These marked anniversaries are always trying days, 

336 A lady's cruise. 

Avliich aAvalcon longings for the bodily presence of the dear kith and 
kin in the far country. But I confess I Avould rather that the said 
"\vishing-cap could bring all of you here, away from the bitter frosts 
and snows, to this paradise of sweet sunlight — and (selfish as it 
soiinds when expressed in words) away from constant sight of the 
shivering ill-clad and half-starved people, Avhose deep-seated poverty 
you can in no Avise alleviate, — to these isles, where want, at least, 
never appears prominently. 

The whole family party of brothers and sisters, mother, aunts, 
cousins, and feudal retainers, moved out here again immediately 
after the departure of the big ship, and we have resumed the 
pleasant existence of delicious early bathes, and long idle days 
beneath the green shade by the lovely river. 

I am sitting now in my favourite bower of dark hybiscus with 
lemon-coloured blossoms, which overarches the sparkling rivulet, as 
it branches from the main stream — an enchanting spot. I have 
just been reading the old Christmas service, Avhich brings back 
many a vision of langsyne. There was a grand midnight Mass 
last night at the Catholic church, and of course service this morn- 
ing, but none at the Protestant church, I believe. 

Kow I must go in to breakfast, alias luncheon, as a number of 
friends are expected. This evening one of the neighbours gives 
a large dance, to Avhich, of course, we all go. Even non- dancers 
find such ploys attractive Avhen they involve a pleasant evening 
drive in an ojien carriage, and no hot crowded rooms. 

December 3lst. 

I have had anollicr small cruise in the Seignelay, which was 
ordered to the isles of Tetiaroa, distant al)0ut twenty-four miles, 
thence to bring back -the king, who went there last Aveek in an 
open boat. 

It was arranged that I sliould sleep at the Red House, and go 
on board with Queen ]\Iarau at daybreak. It proved to be rather 
a stormy morning, with a good deal of sea on ; the sunrise colour- 
ing was A'ery striking, — the mountains shrouded in heavy gloom, 


dark storm-clouds revealing the edge of tlieir silvery lining, and 
a luminous prismatic halo playing all round the sun. Then the 
cloud - masses dispersed ; dainty pink cloudlets floated on a sky 
which graduated from a paledemon hue to the colour of a thrush's 
egg, so that the whole colouring suggested broken rainbow lights, 
changing incessantly for half an hour. 

Tetiaroa is a cluster of five low coral-isles, arranged in a circle, 
connected by coral-reef, thus almost forming an atoll. The isles 
are quite flat, nowhere rising more than four feet above the water. 
By nature barren, they have been artificially rendered fertile by 
the constant importation of vegetable mould from Tahiti ; so now 
each isle is a dense grove of cocoa-palms, Avhose roots are washed 
by the salt spray. 

Tetiaroa is to Papeete as Brighton is to London, a favourite 
bathing -place, where the Tahitians betake themselves to recruit 
their languid energies by a course of strong brine, though Tahiti 
appears to me too healthy to require any sanatorium. It is, how- 
ever, worthy of note, that statistics go to prove that, as a rule, all 
the low coral-formations are healthy, whereas the inhabitants of 
high volcanic isles are frequently subject to fever and ague. 

Though an imperfect atoll, this cluster was specially interesting 
to me, as a type of the eighty isles which form the Paumotus. 
Judging from this sample, I am satished that there is little to be 
seen from the deck of a ship. Could we ascend in a balloon, 
we should look down on a lagoon of shallow, very bright-green 
water, encircled by five palm-clad isles, connected by bands of 
rainbow-tinted reef, — say a garland of green roses and tri-colour 
ribbon. Could our balloon float above the Paumotu group, eighty 
such garlands would be seen scattered on the deep-})lue ocean, each 
encircled by an outer belt of submarine prismatic colour, edged 
with white breakers, marking where lies the barrier-reef. 

At Tetiaroa, the only opening in the reef is so narrow as barely 
to admit a canoe. We liad, however, fully intended to land, but 
the surf was so rough that we had to give up the idea, much to 
my regret, especially as the day was devoted to heavy gun practice, 
which of course involves ear-splitting noise and smoke. However, 


338 A lady's cruise. 

I can stand fire pretty avc]], so took iip a favom-able position teside 
one of tlie cannons, and received instructions in artillery practice, 
lint I confess I Avas not sorry when, after the fiftieth shot, tlie 
look-out man (who sat aloft like the sweet little cherub) announced 
the approach of the king, and presently we discerned a great crowd 
of natives wading across the reef, and dragging his canoe. Ship- 
boats put oil" to meet him ; and though embarkation in such surf 
was no easy matter, it was safely accomplished, and a fcAV minutes 
later the Seignelay received, not his majesty alone, but also a large 
number of pigs, and heaps of cocoa-nuts, presented to the lord of 
the isles, as parting gifts from loving subjects. 

It was late ere we landed at Papeete, so I again slept at the 
Ked House, where one of the Seignelay l)oats called for me at 
daybreak, and landed me at the beautiful avenue of Fautawa, 
where I had a most enjoyable morning of (juiet sketching, till Mrs 
Grander sent her pony-carriage to bring me lionie to the noonday 

^ow the young folk arc i)reparing for a midnight frolic. They 
intend to have a very merry dance at a neiglibour's house ; but 
as it is to be impromptu, and the hosts are not supposed to pre- 
jiare any supper, each gentleman intends to carry a basket, ostcns- 
i])ly of fruit and flowers, beneath which lie concealed sundry 
bottles of chanijjagne, wherewith to drink the Xew Year in. The 
girls are busy Aveaving garlands, that all may ]je ilower-crowned 

Mrs Brander and her mother alone represent the more thought- 
ful element, and go to I'apeete to attend a great native midnight 
service. I am too tired to do either, so can only say to you, as to 
the Old Year, " Good-night ! Good-night ! " 




Favtawa, New Year's Day, 1S7S. 

The dancers of last night did not come home till 3.30, and at 
7 A.M. the hand of La Magicienne came here to serenade Mrs 
Brander, and played divinely. ]\Iany friends drove out to offer 
their New Year greetings, and so, as if hy magic, the lawn was 
soon crowded with a joyous party, all the girls dressed in the 
prettiest, freshest of sacques, and their hair wreathed with bright 
tlowers. What could they do hut dance 1 The hand, having 
pledged their hostess in her best champagne, played with a will for 
a couple of hours, when they Avere provided with a substantial 
breakfast, and then all the gentlemen drove off to another place 
belonging to Mrs Erander, there to preside at a great breakfast to 
all her e^nployes. 

I drove into Papeete Avith pretty Pree, Manihinihi, and Xaani, 
to call on Marau, Moe, and other friends ; and so we began the 
NcAV Year brightly and happily, in ideal, civilised - South - Sea 

Jamiary 25f/t. 

Ever since I arrived here, Ave have been planning an expedition 
to the French fort at some distance up this A^alley, at a height of 
about 1600 feet aboA^e the sea. So one beautiful morning last 
week, several friends from the Seignelay arrived here before sun- 
rise, and Ariipaea Salmon undertook to be our guide. Tie had, 
unfortunately, hurt his foot, so he and I Averc privileged to ride, 
the others Avalking. 

For a considerable distance the path Aviiids through a dense 
thicket of gua\'as, all self-sown, and considered by the people as 
great a curse as the (equally imported) lantana in Ceylon, both 
plants having a fatal facility for spreading and taking permanent 


possession of every neglected corner. They are the Chinamen of 
the vegetable Avorld, and are quite as useful in their way. The 
guava forms the principal firewood of Tahiti. It bears an al)un- 
dant crop of excellent fruit, which is now ripening just as the 
mango season is finishing ; and I think the Tahitian guava is better 
than those of India and Ceylon. Certainly it has a far less sickly 
smell. Cattle and horses alike munch both fruit and leaves with 
avidity, so I cannot see why the guava should be so generally 
despised ; but the fact remains, strange to say, no one here seems 
ever to think of making the delicious crimson jelly which we, in 
England, prize so highly. The fruit is left to drop from the trees 
utterly unheeded. 

Further up the valley the track becomes steep and narroAV, an<l 
in places runs along the face of the cliff, with the rushing stream 
immediately below, and overhanging boughs festooned with vines 
growing so rankly as somewhat to endanger a rider. The beautiful 
large granadilla passion-flower here runs riot, but its fruit is now 
all finished. AVhen ripe it resembles a good-sized puni})kin of a 
bright golden colour, and contains a multitude of seeds like those 
of a melon, each encased in white jelly. These lie inside a sweetish 
jHiIp about two inches thick, which is generally thrown away, but 
is nevertheless quite Avorth cooking as a vegetable. 

I found the drooping branches so troublesome, that I foolishly 
a])audonetl my horse very early, and had a much longer tramp than 
1 counted on. We had not gone very far ere we quite lost the 
foot-track, and coming to a place where two ravines and two 
streams meet, Ariipaea, who had not been here for a long time, 
quite forgot which we were to follow ; so first we tried the right 
side, and clamljered up a steep and difficult path, till we were con- 
vinced that we were on the wrong track, and returning to the junc- 
tion, we tried the other ravine, crossing and recrossing the stream. 

At length, after much loss of time and energy, we concluded 
that our best course was again to return to the junction and there 
breakfast, trusting that by good luck it might prove to be the day 
on which " Pere Fautawa " (as the old soldier in charge of the fort 
is commonly called) would be returning from Papeete with his 


rations. Fortune favoured us ; and ere we had finished the con- 
tents of our hamper (carried by French sailors) the old man ap- 
peared, and led the way by a middle path between the two streams. 
It was a very steep scramble, among great boulders and masses of 
rent crag, half hidden by the wealth of tree-ferns, young palms, 
wild bananas, and other tropical foliage, such as ginger, turmeric, 
wild caladium, and dractena. The stems of the large trees are 
covered with parasitic ferns, especially the handsome bird's nest 
fern, which here grows luxuriantly. 

After crossing several small streams, we climbed to the verge of 
a deep ravine, at the head of which rises a precipitous clilf 600 
feet high. Over this rushes a cataract of white foam, which fades 
into shadowy mist as it loses itself among the tall palms and 
feathery foliage of the tree-ferns and parasitic vines which veil its 
base. Above the fall is situated the French fortress. 

The interest of the place does not lie in the fort of the foreigners, 
but in the fact that this was the last stronghold of the Tahitians, 
in their struggle to retain their independence and resist the hated 
invaders. Here it was that the last man who fell in that brave 
strife was shot, betrayed by one of his countrymen, who now reaps 
the reward of his treachery in the enjoyment of foreign gold and 
the red ribbon of the Legion of Honour. This was the last blood 
shed. Now the red roses grow undisturbed on the ramparts, and 
the lines of defence are so many terraced gardens, where the soli- 
tary old soldier grows strawberries for sale in Papeete, whither he 
descends once or twice a-week to draw his rations and to see the 

It is a lonely ending for the old man's days, and a strange con- 
trast to his former barrack-life. Noav he is often for days together 
enveloped in mists, which enfold him in an isolated cloud-world. 
It is comparatively cold, too, at this high level, where at nights the 
thermometer sometimes falls below 60°. At Pere Fautawa's bid- 
ding we gathered ripe strawberries from his little garden, the first 
I had seen growing for many a day.^ 

1 The next I saw were at the British Legation in Pekin, where they were ohjents 
of intense interest, as being probably the first ever grown in the Celestial Empire. 

342 A lady's cruise. 

Then while the sailors busied themselves preparing coffee, we 
dispersed in search of pleasant pools for bathing, a luxury never 
more prized tlian after such a scramble in a tropical valley. Hith- 
erto the day had been quite lovely, now it rapidly overcast, and 
heavy clouds came down and hid the Uiademe — the beautiful 
crown-shaped mountain, tliat heads the valle3\ It is called by the 
natives Maiao, and though its height does not exceed 4363 feet, it 
is one of the most remarkable forms in Tahiti. 

Ere we had finished our welcome coffee it began to pour so 
lieavily that I voted for camping where we were ; but the others 
feared a freshet, such as might make the streams impassable for 
days. So they voted for starting instantly, and of coiirse carried 
the day ; and we descended the steep mountain-path in blinding 
rain, which blurred all beauty, and rushed in rivulets beneath our 
feet. We were so thoroughly saturated, that crossing and recrossing 
the stream ceased to give us a moment's thought ; and by the time 
we reached this house, I confess to having been thoroughly ex- 
hausted, as was to be expected, after a scramble of fully eight 
miles without any time to rest. 

Of course, as soon as we got back the weather cleared, and we 
had a most lovely evening, followed by an exquisite moonlight 
lught, and a sunrise which, seen from Fautawa, Avould have been 
too fascinating. It was with sore regret that I gazed upward to 
the sunlit peaks ; while for days afterwards I felt too utterly done 
to do more than creep about the garden. 

The upper heights of the valley are wellnigh inaccessible. They 
cnhuinate in a crag-ridge about 4000 feet in height, forming a crest 
so narrow as to be a mere saddle barely three feet across — literally 
a gigantic crag-wall, wooded to tlie summit. Few are the bold 
spirits who have cared to scale this barrier in their endeavour to 
cross the island. Only Ijy painful climbing from ledge to ledge, 
clinging to overhanging trees, trailing screw-pine, and sturdy vines, 
which act as natural ropes, is it possible to make any way. Indeed 
it is necessary to carry strong ropes in case of emergency; and 
little help can be expected from native guides, Avho never dream of 
expending toil so fruitlessly, unless worried into doing so by some 


unrestful foreigner. I am sure I do not AvonJer at their being 
satisfied with lower levels, seeing how enchanting these are. I find 
day after day gliding by in such peaceful enjoyment, that time 
passes unmarked, and the further expeditions, of which we have 
sometimes talked, seem to involve too great exertion. Evidently 
I am becoming indolent in these dreamy southern isles ! 

January ZOth. 

I have just been feasting on a cocoa-palm salad, which would 
make tlie fortune of the happy chef who could introduce it at an 
alderman's feast. That, fortunately for the plantations, is quite 
out of his power, unless some j^rocess be discovered by which to 
preserve uncooked vegetables. For this dainty consists of the 
embryo primary shoot of the tree — the imborn fronds, which Yw. 
curled up witliin in a close compact Avhite mass, about the size of a 
man's arm, and resemlding a gigantic stick of celery, with a flavour 
of filberts. Of course so costly a dish as this (which sacrifices the 
life of the tree) is rarely indulged in, save when a hurricane has 
snapped the crown of the tall palm, or when some rich chief Avishes 
to entertain a guest, regardless of expense. 

Another very agreeable product of the cocoa-palm, which you in 
England can never hope to taste, is an over-ripe nut, when in the 
very act of sprouting. Previous to this, a very curious change has 
occurred. As you must know, the germ of the plant lies just 
within the three little eyes, which we used in nursery days to call 
the monkey's face. Indeed I fear that in those days of our ignor- 
ance we imagined they Avere the marks left by the stalk, quite for- 
getting that the nut lies in a large outer case of that brown fibre 
which, in tliese our later days, we know as " coir." Well, tlie 
sharp end of the nut lies next the stalk, and the monkey-face at 
the further end, so that nursery theory Avas fallacious, like some 

When the nut is fully ripe, a fibrous, .spongy substance begins to 
form all round the germ, and tliis gradually extends, absorbing both 
the so-called milk and the hard kernel, till the whole shell is full 

344 A lady's cruise. 

of a soft, sweet, white growth, like a very light hJane-mange. If 
at this stage the' nut escapes the gourmet of the South Seas, the 
young germ will soon force open one of the three eyes, and, work- 
ing its way through the fibrous husk, begin its heavenward growth ; 
while from the other two eyes will sprout two rootlets, which 
instinctively turn downwards, and likewise penetrating the thick 
protecting outer case, find their way to mother earth, and there 
strike root. Still the white sponge within the nut goes on ex- 
panding, till at length it splits the hard wooden shell, and then 
gradually decays, and so forms a light nourisliing soil, which acts 
as mother's milk to the baby tree in its delicate early days. After 
a while it needs no such provision, but flourishes, in grace and 
beauty, where other trees would starve. 

I wonder that no one has ever discovered in the cocoa-palm a 
meet emblem of charity. Of all plants that grow, none asks so 
little, or gives so largely. It matters not how dry and barren is the 
shallow soil, or how briny the coral-sand, washed by every rising 
tide, the hardy palm strikes its roots among the fragments of coral, 
and, bending to the gale, weathers the wild storms, and yields its 
generous increase as abundantly as its more fortunate brethren 
in the rich soil of sheltered, well - watered valleys. The poorest 
islander on the loneliest atoll, possessed of a few cocoa-palms, can 
exist. They give him food and drink, a fibrous material, all ready 
woven, like coarse canvas, for dress ; leaves for thatch, and oil for 
light, and for personal adornment and comfort. To obtain the 
latter, he collects a lot of old nuts, such as those we see for sale in 
England, and scraping out the kernel into some old canoe, leaves 
the whole mass for some days exposed to the sun, till the pure oil 
exudes, and without further trouble he stores it in any vessels 
he may possess — gonrds or bamboos. Of course, a European who 
trades in palm-oil prefers to collect it in the form of coi^pra — i.e., 
dried cocoa-nut — as a much larger amount of oil is obtained by 
pressure of machinery. 

Another hardy child of these coral-isles is the pandanus, or 
screw-pine, as it is commonly called, because its leaves, which grow 
in tufts at the tips of the branches, are all set like a screw, twisting 


round the stem, which is thus marked with a spiral pattern from 
the root upward. Like the cocoa-palm, it grows in the clean dry 
coral-sand, where there is apparently no moisture ; yet when cut it 
is found to be full of oily sap. The wood is close and hard, and 
though rarely exceeding five or six inches in diameter, it often 
grows perfectly upright, for fifteen or twenty feet, and yields excel- 
lent posts for building ; they are, however, hollow like a bamboo. 
The long drooping leaves are valuable for thatch, being from three 
to five feet in length, and about three inches wide. They are 
edged with sharp prickles, but, when torn into strips, are useful 
for plaiting mats and canoe-sails. 

The women steep the leaves in sea-water, and then beat them 
with a mallet till all the green skin comes off, leaving a beautifully 
Avhite silky fibre, which they dye red, yellow, and brown, and then 
plait into wonderfully fine sashes, about a foot wide. It has been 
suggested that this pure white fibre would prove a valuable mate- 
rial for paper-making, but I have not heard of its being tried. A 
stronger fibre is obtained by crushing the aerial roots, which this 
strange tree throws out in all directions, forming stays by which it 
protects itself against the violent gales, — a necessary precaution, 
where the main root grows only in the sand. 

The flower of the pandanus is exceedingly fragrant ; but though 
I have seen thousands of screw-pines, I have rarely had the luck 
to find one in blossom. Its fruit resembles a coarse pine-apple. 
AVhen ripe it becomes bright scarlet, and the Samoans use it for 
making necklaces. It is divided into honeycomb sections. When 
the fruit is ripe these fall apart, each being a separate conical lump, 
of which the inner end is soft and saccharine, and can be chewed 
like sugar-cane. 

When the capsules are thoroughly dried, they can be cracked, 
and yield a kernel, which is edible ; and in the barren isles, near 
the equator, this fruit is considered a valuable product. It is dried 
and grated, and the sweet brown sawdust thus obtained is stored 
as the only substitute for flour ; and cakes of it are baked, as 
occasion may require, to eke out a fish diet, which is not always 
forthcoming. It is said to be wholesome, nourishing food ; but in 


these more luxuriant southern isles I have never seen it eaten by 
the natives, only by the foreign labour — i.e., the men imported 
from the groups to the north-east, who are engaged to work on the 
plantations. In their own isles they have discovered a means of 
steaming and mashing the fruit which, Avhen fermented, yields a 
strong and highly intoxicating spirit. The whalers who years ago 
settled among them, taught tliem to improve on this liquor by 
distillation, and also in.structed them how to obtain a fiery spirit 
from the innocent palm-trees. So, thanks to their tuition, and 
generally civilising influence, the Line islanders have become 
infinitely more debased than they previously Avere. 

It does seem too bad, does it not, to extract poison from these 
nseful trees 1 But whether it be orange-rum in Tahiti, or barley- 
bree in the isles nearer home, I suj^pose the white race will find 
means to procure fire-water wherever it goes, and seems to turn 
every sort of plant to the same use. What with rum from the 
sugar-cane, and fiery spirit from the sweet dracaena root, and even 
from innocent bananas, it appears as if every good gift of heaven 
Avas liable to be misused in like manner. 

I hear some people say that they weary of the monotony of the 
cocoa-palms ; and certainly a low coral-shore, with an unbroken 
line of palm-trees, is somewhat dull. Here, however, there is an 
amazing A'ariety in the foliage of the seaboard. Besides the many 
beautiful large-leaved shrubs, there are various handsome trees, 
Avhich attain a great size, and, as I described to you, many grow so 
close to the shore that their boughs literally dip into the sea. 
Some of these are fruit-bearing. The vi bears bunches of large 
yellow plums, and the ahia ^ yields a lovely pink fruit, with Avhite 
juicy flesh. 

But of all the indigenous trees none can compare for beauty and 
value to the lircad-fruit, wliich, though it demands a richer soil 
in the first instance, rivals the cocoa-palm in its manifold uses. 
Though it does not give drink to the thirsty, or coir for ropes and 
matting, its resin forms a strong glue Avhich is us(iful in caulking 
the boats, ai]d the bark of the young branches yields a fibre from 
^ The Malay ajiple, familiar to us in Fiji as tlie kaveeica. 


"wliich strong cloth is :uaJe. Its timber is exceedingly valuable ; 
and its tliick glossy leaves, which are sometimes eighteen inches in 
length by about twelve in breadth, are also turned to good account. 

But of course it is chiefly prized for its abundant food-supply. 
Each tree yields three, sometimes four, crops annually ; and as there 
are in these isles about fifty recognised varieties, which ripen at 
different seasons, it follows that, with a little care in cultivation, 
the supply might very easily be so regulated as never to fail. A 
large bread-fruit tree in full bearing is certainly a most beautiful 
object, with its wealth of green or yellow fruit hanging from 
beneath the handsome deeply indented leaves. A good tree will 
bear several hundred fruits — each about eight inches long by six 
wide, — with a rough green rind, divided into a lozenge-shaped 
pattern. This is sometimes peeled off before the white pulp is 
cooked ; but I infinitely prefer the bread-fruit roasted whole on the 
embers or baked in the earth in a native oven, when the blackened 
rind is scraped off, and the inside is found thoroughly cooked, and 
in taste something like the thick scones known in the colonies as 
" dampers," or like the cold " chupatties " Ave used to eat on the 
march in the Himalayas — floury but rather tough. I don't think 
that these natural loaves are to be compared to a good potato. 
However, they are the bread of the favoured tropics ; and nowhere 
else does mother nature yield so much wholesome food for so 
little human toil. 

You need not, however, imagine that these good things are 
common property, to be gathered and cooked by every hungry 
man. On the contrary, every cocoa-palm and fruit-bearing tree on 
these or any other isles that I know of, has its owner, and is very 
likely the sole wealth of a whole family. So each fruit commands 
as regular a market-value in the South Sea Isles, as do the apples 
and potatoes of the English farmers. This is a simple fact, appar- 
ently not always recognised by visitors and others, who occasion- 
ally write to request their friends living here to send them cases of 
oranges and other fruits, as if they supposed that these were to be 
had for the mere trouble of gathering and packing ! 

Speaking of gathering and packing, I have for some time past 

348 A lady's cruise. 

been devoting a considerable amount of energy to collecting mango- 
stones, or rather kernels, with a view to sending them to Fiji. It 
is only about eighteen years since the mango-tree was introduced to 
these isles from Eio Janeiro, and so wonderful is the rapidity Avith 
which it has spread, that it now holds its place as the most marked 
feature in the vegetation of this group. Every homestead is em- 
bowered in these and other fruit-bearing trees, and for the last two 
months every man, woman, and child (to say nothing of quadru- 
peds) seems to be for ever eating ripe, delicious, golden mangoes ; 
and every road, indeed the ground in every direction, is strewn with 
les noyaux ; though the people so fully appreciate the luxury of a 
feast by the river-side, where they may enjoy the juicy dainties 
without the smallest respect for conventional appearances, that an 
immense number of the finest kernels are thrown into the water — 
indeed, since I have been so anxious to collect good sorts, I observe 
with annoyance that though I entreat these careless easy-going 
people (le ^jew^jZe) to throw the best stones in some corner for me, 
they seem by preference (or probably by force of habit) always to 
chuck them into the water. 

The French have taken immense trouble in perfecting this 
valuable fruit, and have now introduced so many excellent varieties 
that one crop succeeds another in rotation. The round mango is 
succeeded by the golden egg, and that by a small purple, while the 
large long sort seems inexhaustible. Best of all are those specially 
cultivated by Monseigneur Janssen, Bishop of Axieri, who has 
raised a super-excellent mango with a very large fruit, and a long 
stone so thin and flat as to resemble the inner sole of a child's 

The bishop has also been inspired Avith the happy thought of 
distributing mango-stones in other groups, and sent off a large con- 
signment last month by a vessel going direct to New Caledonia. 
He is most kind in helping mo to collect a good assortment for 
Fiji : at the same time, he warns me that taking the best seed is 
no sure warrant for getting equally good plants, as no other tree 
exists, so faithless in reproducing its own kind, and variety of soil 
produces every conceivable variety of tree. You may take twin 


fruits from one tree, and plant them a few yards to right and 
left of the parent tree. One will grow up infinitely suj^erior to its 
mother — the other will be all stone and fibre, and scarcely ht for 
the pigs. The only certainty lies in taking graflfs of the good ones, 
and so utilising the stock ; also in planting, the richest soil must 
be selected, as the tree has a long tap-root and strikes deep. 

Now there is abundance of rich soil in Fiji, and the ordinary 
vegetation is identical Avith that of Tahiti; so there can be no 
reason why the mango should not be acclimatised there as well as 
here, and it would be a very great satisfaction to me to aid in 
bestowing so great a boon on the young colony, I am sure I 
deserve that the attempt should succeed, for it has already cost me 
an immense amount of trouble. In spite of all precautions, of 
careful drying and turning, &c., a very large number of the stones 
I collected in the early part of the season have already sprouted. 
Some are quite respectable young trees. 

So now I am making a more systematic attempt, and have 
devoted several days to driving to all the very finest gardens in 
the neighbourhood, where, with the help of a pretty Tahitian boy 
(who rather enjoyed such a chance of an unlimited feed), I set to 
work to collect the half-decayed fruit, which lay rotting under all 
the best trees. I can tell you that cleaning the stones was about 
the hottest, dirtiest, and most fatiguing work I have done for many 
a day. However, notwithstanding the heat, I stuck to it for six 
hours one day and three the next, and two hours on several other 
days. And the result is a splendid lot of noijaux, which every 
morning I turn and re-turn, in order to dry them thoroughly, 
hoping to prevent their sprouting like the first lot. Eut in spite 
of all my precautions, the large flat seeds of the finest mango have 
already done so — so they, at least, can only be propagated by 
graffs. Another difficulty is, that hitherto all my efforts to send 
plants from Fiji to England by Wardian cases of island manufac- 
ture have proved abortive. In every case the plants have died, so 
I do not feel much encouraged to try the experiment again. 

The great difficulty lies in the length of time that must elapse 
ere either plants or stones can reach Fiji ; as, of course, such a 

350 A lady's cruise. 

chance as tliat of the vessel -vvliicli Lrouglit me tliencc, direct to 
this group, is of very rare occurrence. Tlie proljahility is, tliat tlie 
seeds whicli I am now colli'cting will have to Avait for an oppor- 
tunity of being sent hy sailing-vessel 2000 miles north to Hono- 
lulu ; there to be transhij)ped to a Pacific mail-steamer, and be 
carried south-west 4000 miles to Sydney ; where they would find 
another steamer to take them the 1700 miles to Levuka, whence 
they will find their way by sundry small sailing-boats to the 
various Pijian isles. A somewhat cii'cuitous route, you must 
allow ! 

Fchruary 3d, 

After all, I have found a somewhat more direct route by which 
to send some of my mango-stones. Le Limier was despatched 
to-day on special service to the Gilbert Isles, thence to proceed to 
New Caledonia, and her very obliging captain, Commandant Puech, 
offered to carry a large case to the care of the British Consul (Mr 
Layard), who will forward it to Sir Arthur Gordon by the first 
opportunity. So I set to work to pack 4000 carefully selected 
stones, laying them side by side as neatly as though building a 
wall with children's little bricks. It took me a whole day's work, 
and, considering that each seed has passed through :uy hands six 
or eight times, while collecting, cleaning, scraping, drying, turning, 
selecting, and finally jiacking, you Avill not wonder that I looked 
after the departing case Avith a feeling of quite maternal interest.^ 

The mission on Avhich Le Limier is now bound is to take back 
200 of the Arawais, inhabitants of the Gilbert Islands, Avho Avere 

3 Just Ijefore leaving Tahiti, I bestowed e(ivial care on three cases containing 
fiOOO stones, wliich were carried hy sailing- shij) to New Zealand and thence to 
Fiji. Their arrival there was anxiously expected, and all arrangements made for 
their speedy distribution throughout the group. Alas ! alas ! when, after long 
<lelays, the cases were opened, they were found to contain a mass of decay ; poor 
<lead jilants, which had sprouted during the voyage, and straightway died. When 
this sad news reached me, I bethought me sorrowfully of the advice given me by 
Monseigneur Janssen — namely, that as plants require light and air to enable them 
to sprout, I would do well to compel them to sleep by packing them in soot, and 
then having the case carefully caulked. The mess involved in such work was so 
horrible, that I shrank from undertaking it, but 1 bequeath the good advice to my 
successors in the attempt. 


l)rouglit liorc as foreign labourers about nine years ago, on the 
understanding that they Avould very soon be sent home again, 
Avhereas they have been detained all these years. AVhen Admiral 
8erres commenced critical inqiiiries on the various abuses at Avhicli 
I)revious governors had winked, this fact became known, and he 
decided that the labourers should be sent back soon after the Xew 
Year — an announcement which filled their masters with dismay, in 
view of ungathered crops, but was hailed by the Arawais with joy 
till they learnt by what vessel they were to travel. Then they 
were filled with alarm, believing that so large a ship would not 
dare to risk the dangerous navigation between their little isles ; 
and that they would probably all be landed (as has often been 
done in similar cases) on one or two of the principal isles, 
Avhere they would be left quite as much in a strange land as in 
Tahiti, and, moreover, with the certainty of being robbed, and the 
probability of' being eaten by hostile tribes. So a considerable 
number have refused to go on this occasion. Indeed M. Puech is 
himself much perturbed as to how to accomplish this really difficult 

He invited a few friends, including myself, to go on board at 
the last moment, to faire les adieux. The vessel presented a 
curious scene — picturesque, certainly, with abundance of bright 
colour, but more like an emigrant ship than a man-of-war. Le 
Limier is so constructed that she has not sufficient accommodation 
to allow of all the crew sleeping below at one time. So these 
wretched Arawais, including women and children, are taken only 
as deck passengers ; and as the cruise, under steam, cannot take 
less than from sixteen to eighteen days, during which they must 
take their chance of whatever weather they may encounter, you 
can understand that the voyage does not promise to be a pleasure- 

The vessel carries much extra coal, to provide against the danger 
of a calm. So half her deck is loaded with this dirty store, and 
the 200 Gilbert Islanders are huddled together on the main-deck. 
Each labourer has a trade box, containing a few clothes, a good deal 
of tobacco, and some cheap toys for children ; and this is all they 


carry homo as the fruit of their long exile. Nine years of ceaseless 
toil in a far country, repaid by a little Avoodcn box full of cheap 
rubbish ! 

While "we were on board, a little baby died on deck in its 
mother's arms. Some fellow-countr3'men, who had come to see 
their friends start, undertook to carry the poor little body ashore 
for luirial. The father opened his box of trade, and took out a few 
yards of coarse printed calico, which he gave to the said friends, 
apparently as payment for their trouble. The poor mother fell on 
her face at the gangway, wailing piteously. She appeared utterly 
miserable. It was a sad beginning for a voyage, and we all doubly 
regretted the departure of our friends with such an unpleasant three 
weeks in prospect. 

When I saw how terribly overcrowded the vessel was, I thought 
Captain Puech must surely repent of his kindness in offering to 
carry the big case of mango-stones ; but on the contrary, he made 
it appear as though I had done him quite a favour in letting him 
take charge of the precious seeds, which, we trust, will hereafter 
become so valuable a boon to Fiji. Kind, good friend, we all 
wished him hon voyage with all our hearts ; then returning to the 
shore we watched the good ship sail, amid hearty cheers from Le 
Seignelay, and with large bouquets on each mast, to mark that she 
is homeward-bound. 

The Red House, Papeette, 
Friday, February Sth. 

The Segond, French man-of-war, has just arrived from San Fran- 
cisco, bringing the new French governor — a fine jovial naval officer 
— with an A.D.C. who, like his chief, is well known in Tahiti for 
his strong liking for natives and native customs. 

So while the appointment has caused great delight to one section 
of the community, others foresee a speedy relapse from the high- 
pressure morality, and various reforms which, under the good ad- 
miral's regime, made Papeete so strictly respectable that its own 
inhabitants said the like had never been seen under any previous 
rule. But everything changes with the admiral and governor of 


the day, and every one here declares that the ships in harbour 
during the last few months have been of such exceptionally good 
type that the result has been a model era, probably too perfect to 

To-morrow Le Seignelay is to sail for Valparaiso to restore M. 
D'Oncieue, M. Fayzeau, and the band, to La Magicienne. So 
to-day Mrs Brander gave a farewell breakfast at Fautawa to as 
many as could come, after which we all adjourned here, as being 
more convenient for a great reception at Government House to- 
night, when the good band will play for the last time. Henceforth 
Papeete must be content with the feebler efforts of a band recruited 
from her own citizens, but as yet not up to the mark. 

Saturday, February Wi. 

Le Seignelay sailed this morning, and with most true regret I 
bade adieu to the pleasant companions of the last five months. 
"With unchanging kindness they again off"ered me the hospitality of 
the ship, and placed a cabin at my disposal in case I cared to visit 
Valparaiso ; but I do not feel tempted by that unpicturesque coast, 
and its very gay and gorgeously apparelled Spanish-German society. 
In a very few days the Maramma must return from the Sand- 
wich Isles with her cargo of cattle, and then I hope to start for the 




Fautawa, Tuesday, I2th. 

News has just reached us of an awful hurricane and tidal wave 
which has swept the whole group of the Paumotus, and it is not 
known how far its influence has extended. Nothing of the sort 


354 A lady's cruise. 

has occurred in these seas in the present century. The French 
Eesident and Mr Eoosey, one of Mrs Brander's agents, have just 
arrived in the Elgin to ask for assistance, as the whole settlement 
of Anaa is a heap of hopeless ruin. It was a flourishing little 
town, ahout half the size of Levuka ; it had about 150 houses, 
good stores, Eoman Catholic, Presbyterian, and Mormon churches, 
llesident's house, &c. The Seignelay touched there on that memor- 
able cruise to the Marquesas, so I missed the chance of doing a 
historical, antediluvian sketch. 

ISfrs Brander is most anxious about the fate of her other manager, 
Mr Macgee ; indeed we all are so, for he is a very good fellow, and 
he has been staying with the family here for some time. lie is 
supposed to have been out that night in a very small vessel, which 
is missing. The gale must have been appalling. It is calculated 
that on Anaa alone, 300,000 cocoa-palms must have fallen, and Mrs 
Brander's loss in produce, stores and buildings, boats, three small 
ships and their cargoes, is reckoned at 40,000 dollars, equal to about 
£10,000 — a serious night's work. 

The Segond is to be despatched to-morrow morning, loaded with 
provisions, timber, and all things likely to prove useful in this 
emergency. She is to go the round of every large isle in the group, 
and do what she can to help the wretched inhabitants. 

They say these tidal Avaves always accompany an eruption of 
some volcano. I hope I shall not find that I have just missed one 
at HaAvaii ! 

Mahena Plantation, Point Venus, 
Thursday, Feb. lith. 

This is another place belonging to Mrs Brander, who sent me 
here with her manager, Mr Lander, a German, that I might have a 
few quiet days for sketching in this neighbourhood. There is a 
large house here, close to the sea, where the family occasionally 
come for a change. I Avas received by Toetoe, a handsome, stalwart 
lass, daughter of a chief of Tupuai, the romantic isle of Avhich Byron 
sings in " The Island." She introduced me to pets of all sorts — 
rabbits, cows, horses, cats and dogs, especially a Avee brown dog 


" Moosie." She gave me milk without limit — always a luxury — 
and in the evening we wandered by grassy paths beneath the cocoa- 
palms ; and then in the clear moonlight started for a walk along 
the shore, which here is of a firm black sand, on which large waves 
break in as full force as on our own north coast. This is due to 
the fact that there is a passage through the coral-reef, just opposite 
the house ; so the sea rolls in unchecked. 

Monday, ISth. 

I have been rather worried for some days by prickly-heat, from 
which many jDcrsons suffer almost continually in all tropical coun- 
tries. It is a general all-overish, tingling irritation of skin, very 
unpleasant to the sufferer, who, however, receives no compassion, 
as he is pleasantly informed that it is a symptom of excellent health, 
and a safeguard against possible fever ! Sea-bathing is generally 
recommended as a cure, so that sunrise and moonlight alike find 
me in pickle in the briny waters, where, borrowing courage from 
Toetoe's presence and good example (she being, as a matter of 
course, a perfect swimmer), I venture on a dash through the break- 
ing waves to the pleasant calm water beyond ; where, however, our 
peaceful enjoyment is considerably marred by the dread of sharks, 
which here venture close to the shore. 

"We have made various expeditions, walking and driving, to 
picturesque points on land and shore ; and a day at the lighthouse 
enabled me to complete my previous sketch of Orofena, the highest 
mountain of Tahiti. 

Now we are just starting to drive back along tlie coast to Papeete 
— a lovely route, by which, as you may remember, I last travelled 
by torchlight, on our return from the grand circuit of the isle. 

Papeete, Fcbrnnry 10(/i. 

AVe have for some time been anxiously Avatclung for the return 
of the Maranima, Mrs Lrander's fine large ship, which is bringing 
cattle from the Sandwich Isles, and which will, I hope, take me 
there on her next trip, supposing no mischance has befallen Jut. 

356 A lady's cruise. 

3>ut slie is now considerably overdue, and fears are expressed that 
slio may have disobeyed orders, and gone to tlie dangerous coast of 
Kauai, thence to fetch cattle. Or she may have encountered the 

February 20th. 

A vessel has just come into port from Honolulu, bringing cattle. 
She has been nineteen days on the voyage, and reports that the 
Maramma is following. 

In the evening the lovely moonlight tempted us to visit our old 
haunts, the place where the admiral's band used to play every 
evening, but where, under the new regime, the hideous tipa-ujM is 
now nightly danced for the edification of the admiring crowd. 
There was the usual large picturesque assemblage, but their gaiety 
was of a more demonstrative type than heretofore. In short, the 
admiral's excellent restrictions, which were to inaugurate quite a 
new era in Tahiti, have already melted " like snowdrift in thaw " 
before the cheerful presence of the new ruler ; who, on the very 
night of M. D'Oncieue's departure, summoned many damsels (friends 
of former days, and noted dancers of the obnoxious native wriggle) 
to Government House, where they were hospitably entertained. 
Of course news of this complete subversion of six months' com- 
pulsory reformation quickly spread to the remotest districts, and 
from all parts of the island all the dancers flocked to Papeete, 
where they now assemble every evening before Government House, 
and the crowd thus attracted is of a sort such as ladies Avould not 
care to mix in for long. To-night there was some rather pretty 
singing, but not to be compared with the true Idmenes — and from 
the laughter of the crowd it might be inferred that the words would 
not bear translation. 

Friday, 22d. 

The Segond has returned from the Paumotus with a lamentable 
tale of disaster. "We are all, however, much relieved at hearing 
that our friend IVfr INfacgee is safe ; though he had a most narrow 
escape on the awful night of the hurricane, when he happened to 


be on the isle of Kaukura, which seems to have been the centre of 
the cyclone, and consequently suffered most. He had passed this 
island a few days previously in the Marion, but the sea had been 
too heavy to allow of so large a vessel venturing to approach. 
Business compelling him to return, he did so in the May, a smaller 
craft. Both vessels belong to Mrs Brander, and are named after 
her daughters. 

Like the generality of the Paumotus, Kaukura consists of a 
circular group of low flat islets, either detached or connected by a 
reef, thus forming an atoll enclosing a calm sea-lagoon ; the whole 
being protected from the outer ocean by an encircling reef. An 
existence more calm and peaceful than that of the dwellers in these 
coral-girt isles can scarcely be conceived ; and a storm such as that 
which has devastated the group, is of such rare occurrence as to be 
little dreaded in the chances of daily life. Eighty years are said 
to have elapsed since the last hurricane occurred in these latitudes. 
Considering that many of these islets are not three feet above the 
Avater-level, — that ten feet is considered high ground, and fifteen is 
about the maximum elevation, — you can understand how appalling 
is the danger caused by any eccentricity of tide. 

As cocoa-nuts are the chief produce of the group, and indeed tlie 
sole property of many families, it is customary to protect the in- 
terests of each member of the community from all danger of poach- 
ing on the part of his neighbour, by laying a tahoo on the whole 
crop until a given day. I suppose I need scarcely tell you Avhat is 
meant by this ceremony, which, under slightly varied names [tahu 
in New Zealand, tamhu in Fiji, tapu in Samoa, and Tcaim in 
Hawaii), is common throughout the Pacific, and implies that some- 
thing has been reserved or rendered sacred by order of the chief. 
In olden days the multitudinous forms of tahoo were to all these 
islanders a heavy burden, weighing grievously upon them in every 
phase of life ; and the infringement of the most arbitrary rule thus 
imposed was generally punished by death. Even now a formerly 
declared tahoo carries such weight, and appeals so forcibly to the 
superstitions of the people, that it is almost invariably respected. 

Thus in the matter of the cocoa-nut crop not a nut from the 

358 A lady's cruise. 

roscrveJ. plantations can Le tonclitnl, till, on the removal of the 
]>i'ohibition, all the proprietors and their families, together with all 
interested in the purchase of the nuts, or in securing payment of 
debts previously contracted, assemble at the Eahui, as it is called, 
and there build for themselves frail booths of palm-leaves — a sorry 
shelter at the best. 

In such a leaf-village, on one of the detached islets, all the 
inhabitants of Kaukura had assembled, together with a number of 
traders from other places, in all numbering nearly 200 persons, 
when they were overtaken by the awfvd hurricane of the 6tli 
February, For some hours previously the greatest anxiety had 
prevailed. A strong easterly breeze had for three consecutive days 
lashed the waters of the lagoon into fury, then gradually veered 
round to the west Avith ever increasing force. The outer ocean, 
now rising in tumultuous waves, swept in from the westward ; and, 
sweeping right over the barrier-reef with, a roar like thunder, broke 
on the shore with a force unequalled in the memory of any islander 
now living. Thus the usually calm lagoon within the coral ring, 
and the annular lagoon on its outer edge, were alike lashed to 
tempestuous billows, dashing with awful force on either side of the 
low islet ; while the water from below was actually forced up 
through the coral foundation, till the light sandy soil was so 
thoroughly saturated as to have become a mere quicksand. 

With danger alike imminent on land and sea, it was a difficult 
question which to face. The ground was apparently about to be 
wholly submerged, and the alarm was such that 118 persons, 
including one European (George Herder, agent for a large German 
mercantile house), decided to take refuge in their boats. All these, 
with the exception of one man, a native of Anaa, perished. 

The others, including Mr Macgee and a few other Europeans, 
fled to the highest part of the land, which was about fifteen feet 
above the ordinary water-level. The ground is there strewn with 
large rocks and stumps of palm-trees. To these they clung all 
through the long dreary night, while the waves from both lake and 
sea met and dashed right over them in cataracts of foam. 

Throughout the long hours of darkness they battled with the 


raging waters. Again and again they were dashed from the rocks 
or stumps to "which they clung, and endured a moment of be- 
wildering horror, while carried at the mercy of the swirling waters, 
till happily some other object presented itself at which to clutch. 
Purther, they were in imminent danger from sharks, which, as they 
well knew, might attack them at any moment, — a consciousness 
Avhich formed a horrible item in that night of dread. Mingling 
with the roar of the Avaters and the shrieking of the hurricane, 
came the crash of falling palms, uprooted, twisted, or snapped by 
the fiiry of the gale. 

When morning broke, the tempest abated ; the waters receded to 
their accustomed bounds, leaving the island a complete Avreck, and 
its shores strewn with the bodies of the dead. 

After a few days, a boat arrived in search of Mr Macgee, 
despatched from the island of Apataki, where he had left the 
Marion. He found her high and dry on the beach, but otherwise 
not seriously injured. Of the little May he had himself caught a 
last glimpse as a huge wave lifted her i\p and carried her right 
over the Avharf, to disappear in the turmoil of seething waters 
beyond. Many other small craft have been wrecked. Amongst 
others the Hornet, a 42-ton schooner; the JSTerine, 28-ton; and a 
great number of boats, which were washed out of the lagoon and 
carried out to sea. 

The isles of ^ian, Anaa, and Rangiroa, i.e., long cloud, seem to 
have suffered the most severely. On the latter almost every house 
has been destroyed, one hideous detail being that the cemeteries have 
literally been washed away, and the bodies, bones, and skulls lie 
strewn over the isle, mingled with the corpses of the drowned, to 
the gratification of such hungry pigs as have survived the deluge, 
and who quickly scented out the loathsome festival. Among the 
bodies Avhich shared this horrible fate, was recognised that of a chief, 
who had been buried a few days previously. 

Is^or was this the only isle where the sea disturbed the resting- 
places of the dead. Mr Loosey told me that on his returning to 
the miserable wreck of what had been his home at Anaa, he 
therein found two skulls, which the waves had sportively deposited 

360 A lady's cruise. 

as grim ornaments for his dining-room. Anaa was the principal 
settlement in the Paumotu group. The storm did not actually 
break there till tlie 7 th February, though for some hours previ- 
ously the barometer had been falling steadily, marking a descent 
from 30.10 on the morning of the 6 th to 29.24 on the afternoon 
of the 7th. 

This so alarmed Mr Boosey that he proceeded to move some of 
his goods to a large native house built on the highest point of the 
island, which, however, did not exceed twenty-five feet above the 
sea-level. His neighbours, like those of Noah of old, somewhat 
derided his precautions; but even he had saved comparatively 
little, when the sea came pouring in over the reef in miglity waves, 
which swept all before them, almost entirely covering the island. 
When, on the morning of the 8th, the waters receded, a mass of 
broken timbers and rubbish alone remained to mark where, but a 
few short hours previously, had stood about 150 buildings of one 
sort or another. All the boats were destroyed, and tlie whole land 
strewn with fallen palms, lying tossed about at every conceivable 
angle. The destruction of cocoa-palms throughout the group is 
reckoned at two millions ; and as these are the chief wealth, indeed 
the principal means of subsistence, of the people, and as it takes 
about eight years for a young palm to attain maturity, you can in 
a measure realise the loss thus represented, and the time that must 
elapse ere the poor Paumotus recover from the effects of this 
terrible storm. The Segond reports that the sea for many miles 
around the group is so encumbered with wreckage of every sort, as 
seriously to endanger navigation. 

Papeete, February 2<Hh. 

The chief interest of daily life is watching for vessels. The 
mail from San Francisco is late, and of the long-looked-for ship 
from the Sandwich Isles nothing further has been heard. Eoth 
ships belong to Mrs Erander. The former — the Paloma — is called 
after her little daughter ; the latter — the Maramma — bears one of 
her own names. A hundred times a-day we look up to the sema- 
phore to see whetlier the signals reveal any hint of the returning 


wanderers, but no clieering sign appears. It is very trying for my 
kind dear hostess, who has so much at stake, and whose eldest son 
Aleck is expected to return from Honolulu in the missing cattle- 

Otherwise life is running on in strangely even tenor, and I begin 
to realise that in the South Seas, as in other places, delirious 
gaiety is only an occasional accident, and even music is only 
practised by fits and starts. Certainly it has been well for the 
truthfulness of my impressions of travel that I stayed here long 
enough to see a little of the dessous des cartes, instead of seeing 
everything only through the roseate glasses of the hopeful admiral, 
who was so sanguine that his multitudinous reforms would all 
flourish. I am glad that I have seen Tahiti in all its phases, 
especially in its quiet ordinary state, which no one travelling in a 
man-of-war, or in any other large ship, can ever see, as the kindly 
people are always glad- of the smallest pretext for getting up 

Amongst other wrong impressions, I should certainly have 
carried aAvay an idea that hiniene singing was the normal condition 
of Tahitian life — that all the people were for ever warbling like 
birds, as naturally as they breathed, and that the very air was 
musical. I now find that this is by no means the case. Since 
the outburst of song which everywhere greeted King Ariiaue on 
his accession, all the birds have been mute. I have only heard one 
himene, and that was got up to order, in honour of H.M.S. Shah, 
and a very poor specimen it was. 

But chiefly I rejoice that my prolonged stay here with this fine 
family of real old Tahitian chiefs (who have treated me Avith the 
same loving kindness they heap on one another), has not only 
shown me whatever still remains of the true Tahitian element, but 
has also enabled me to realise, in person, the existence of the 
warm-hearted unbounded hospitality which (now necessarily well- 
nigh a tale of the past, in over-crowded British isles) still flourishes 
and luxuriates beneath these balmy heavens. 

But as all things must have an end, and my visit to Tahiti has 
already extended to five months, I now only await the arrival of 

362 A lady's cruise. 

either of tlie missing ships, to decide by which route to tear myself 
away from tlie Tahitian paradise, and all the kind, kind people in 
it, to Avliom it owes half its charm. 

March bth. 

Misfortunes never do come singl}', and really it seems as if every 
vessel that has come in of late has brought tidings of some fresh 
loss. Of those for which we watched so anxiously, the first to 
arrive Avas the Paloma, from San Francisco. Great was the joy 
when slie was sighted, great the dismay when it became known 
that she brought no mails. It appears that she had been becalmed 
on her voyage to 'Frisco, and so had arrived late. The French 
consul there, sooner than allow one day's delay in starting the 
return mail, had chartered another vessel, the Bonanza, to bring it 
down, at a cost to the Paloma of 2000 dollars. The latter had to 
wait several days in San Francisco for cargo ; and nevertheless, 
though the Bonanza is accounted a swift sailer, the Paloma reached 
Honolulu several days before her. She brought news that the 
Maramma got into so many difficulties at the Hawaiian Isles that 
Aleck Brander deemed it best to take passage by the mail-steamer 
wp to San Francisco, intending to return thence in the Paloma ; 
but finding that the Bonanza was chartered for an immediate start, 
he decided to come by her, and so has only just arrived, after both 
the other ships had been some days in harbour. 

The Maramma has had quite a chapter of accidents. After 
making an excellent run to Honolulu, she went down to Kauai to 
ship cattle, when it was discovered that she had sprung a serious 
leak, and had nine feet of water in her hold. Happily she was so 
close inshore that she landed all her cargo without difficulty. A 
Government steamer was sent down to tow her back to Honolulu, 
at a cost of 3000 dollars. Another 1000 dollars were there ex- 
pended on repairs, and to this must be added 2000 more of dead 
loss on the voyage, — and all this was due to one rat-hole ! 

Now she is undergoing further repairs here, and will very likely 
be despatched to Hawaii in a very few days, in which case she will 
probably go direct to Kauai, the most beautiful, and least visited, 


of all the Sandwich Isles. It is a very tempting possibility, yet 
the element of doubt as to whether she really will go at all, exists 
so clearly, that it seems wiser for me to take passage in the Paloma 
to San Francisco, and thence return to Honolulu by mail-steamer. 
It is a terribly long round ; for whereas Honolulu is 2000 miles 
from here, San Francisco is at least 4000, as the crow flies, and as 
ships go, the voyage is often one of 5000 miles, or even more — 
a long voyage to undertake in a brigantine of 230 tons ! 

Aleck Brander has been giving us most interesting accounts of 
his reception in Honolulu bj^ all the royalties and high chiefs of 
Hawaii. As I have before mentioned, they all count blood-relation- 
ship with the high chiefs of Tahiti ; and though they rarely meet, 
a visit from one to the other is a great event. So Aleck's first 
visit was celebrated by a true native welcome, and he had the luck 
of seeing such traces of old Hawaiian custom as have not yet quite 
died out. But it sounds odd to hear of presentations of food, and 
of crouching servants, quite a la Fiji, combined with very smart 
American-Parisian dresses, very much decolletee. At least the 
photographs, of which Aleck has brought a large supply, represent 
the great ladies of Hawaii in very low-necked and short-sleeved 
dresses of gorgeous material. Certainly the simple robes of Tahiti 
are infinitely preferable. 

On Board the Paloma, 

Satxi rday, 'Mh March. 

The die is cast, the sad partings over, and I have bidden a long 
farcAvell to the kindest and most affectionate community I have yet 
discovered in all my wanderings. I took leave of them all yester- 
day morning, for the Paloma had gone to Hitiaa, on the other side 
of the island, there to load with oranges. 

My only fellow-passengers are a very kind couple, IVlr and Mrs 
Boyd, who are accompanied by a pretty fair-haired child. We 
came together from Papeete, in a comfortable coach with canvas 
cover, and had a most lovely sixty miles' drive along the shore, 
Avith the distant hills standing out clearer and more beautiful than 
1 had ever yet seen them, and the foliage seeming richer than ever, 

364 A lady's cruise. 

as I looked on it all with the sorrowful feeling that it was for the 
last time. 

Several bridges had been washed away during a recent storm — 
the same which wrought such devastation in the Paumotus — so we 
had to cross the rivers at the mouth, by driving quite into the sea. 
It was rather nervous work, as the horses did not like it at all. 
]>ut otherwise, the beautiful grass roads Avere in excellent condition, 
and we had four changes of very good horses, so the drive was 
most delightful. 

'Now the beautiful isle lies far behind us, fading into the blue 
distance, and we are fairly started on our far journey. 

Small as is our ship, she is in every respect satisfactory, and as 
clean and cosy as a gentleman's yacht. I never saw so small a 
vessel carry so much sail, — truly our Paloma deserves her name, 
for she is now flying before the breeze like a swift ■\vhite-winged 
carrier-pigeon, bearing many a letter.^ 

She also carries 270,000 oranges — a fragrant cargo. They are 
gathered unripe, to be ready for the market on our arrival. Pro- 
bably, if we make a slow voyage, Ave shall seriously diminish their 
numbers ! On their account, every part of the ship is kept as cool 
and airy as possible. 

Our cabins are excellent. Mine is large and comfortable, and 
has two windoAvs opening on to the deck, so that they need never 
be shut unless Aveather is very bad. The table is excellent, the 
service quiet and attentive. Our Danish captain is an exceedingly 
good fellow, as is also his Avife, Avho travels Avith him. 

The cook and stcAvard, and the tAvo mates, are Swedes and 
Germans. Seven Karotongans compose the crcAV : all are very 
quiet and silent. So is little Edith, Avith her cat and kitten. The 
canary is the only noisy person on board, and sings joyously. 

We are starting as it Avere on a long yachting cruise in summer 

Saturday, April 20th, 
Still on Board the Paloma. 

Our summer cruise has lasted six Aveeks ; we have made about 
1 Paloma — a dove. 


the longest voyage on record. We have lain becalmed for days, 
which both the captain and his wife attribute to my perversity in 
writing letters on board ! They say it always happens when pas- 
sengers write, and that it ought to be an irrevocable law that all 
ink-bottles are emptied when their owners embark. Unaccount- 
able currents have drifted us far out of our course, and the irregular 
behaviour of the trade-wind has driven us right to the west of the 
Sandwich Isles, and yet had not the kindness to blow us close to 
Honolulu, where I might have met some vessel running in 'and 
transhipped, — Captain !N"issen would not have dared to land me 
himself, as he would thereby have broken his mail contract. But 
we passed close to Kauai, which, seen from the sea, is a very unin- 
teresting-looking island; and then we sailed so close to Niihau 
that we could distinguish every house. It did seem a pity that 
the aggravating contract should prevent my landing at once, instead 
of my having to go on all the way to San Francisco, just to return 
in a steamer ! We have actually made a voyage of 6000 miles 
since we left Papeete ! For my own part, I really have not dis- 
liked it. We have had lovely weather; everything has gone on 
most pleasantly; and what with reading, working, and painting, 
the days have been well filled. 

Yesterday was Good Friday, which in Germany and Denmark 
is called " the quiet day," ^ and it was observed by the Danes and 
Germans, and all the crew, by a cessation from all manner of work 
not positively necessary. The Earotongans are all Christians, and 
have their own books, which they read quietly on Sundays. 

Now we are off the coast of California. We are nearing the 
Golden Gates, and hope to find ourselves safe in harbour, before 
the dawn on Easter morning. 

1 Der stille Tag. 



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This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

SEP 15 1959 

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DEC b 1981 

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